Monday, August 31, 2009

Kennedy and the KGB

Since I don't read Russian, I have no way to evaluate the nuances of this story. But it's another in the interesting line of stories just emerging after Edward Kennedy's death last week.

"Shortly after the announcement of Ted Kennedy's death, I had already received several interview requests. I declined them, not wanting to be uncharitable to the man upon his death. Since then, I've seen the need to step up and provide some clarification.

The issue is a remarkable 1983 KGB document on Kennedy, which I published in my 2006 book, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (HarperCollins). The document is a May 14, 1983 memo from KGB head Victor Chebrikov to his boss, the odious Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, designated with the highest classification. It concerns a confidential offer to the Soviet leadership by Senator Kennedy. The target: President Ronald Reagan."

Was Princess Diana's death caused by the French health system?

"The horrific accident illustrated the difference between the French and U.S. approaches to emergency care -- a relatively small piece of the French medical system, but deemed by some people to be the best in the world and often cited as a model for U.S. health care overhaul.

When rescue workers arrived, Diana was conscious, uttering, "My God" and "Leave me alone" to the swarming paparazzi. Although she had suffered internal injuries, she did not arrive at the Parisian hospital for 110 minutes -- too late for the surgery that some speculated could have saved her life."

Looking far ahead

"Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road."

Dag Hammarskjold
1905-1961, Statesman and Secretary-General of U.N.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

From the compassionate Senator: "Kennedy 'joked about Chappaquiddick' Biographer reveals deadly incident was a 'favorite topic of humor'"

"One of Sen. Ted Kennedy's favorite topics of humor was the incident at Chappaquiddick Island, Mass., in 1969 in which he drove off a bridge and left behind a 28-year-old woman who drowned, according to a biographer who reminisced about the iconic Democrat on a Washington, D.C., talk show this morning."

How to Keep Your Teeth From Dissolving

"Researchers have warned people to beware of the damage that acidic beverages have on teeth. Yet, for some, the damage and problems associated with drinking sodas, citric juices, or certain teas may have already begun to take effect.

In a recent study, Dr. Mohamed A. Bassiouny revealed three steps to rehabilitate teeth that suffer from dental erosion as a result of the excessive consumption of these products."

Whey Protein Improves Heart Health

"A whey-protein-rich ingredient may improve blood vessel function in healthy individuals, reports a new randomized, double-blind study.

Two weeks of supplementation resulted in a 1.5 percent improvement in blood flow. According to the researchers, the whey protein-derived ingredient may work via an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory activity.

ACE inhibitors work by inhibiting the conversion of angiotensin I to the potent vasoconstrictor, angiotensin II, thereby improving blood flow and blood pressure."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What you haven't done

"You'll seldom experience regret for anything that you've done. It is what you haven't done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments. Using them up in any self-defeating ways means you've lost them forever."

Wayne Dyer
Author and Speaker

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"From the beginning": Echoes of Genesis 1.1 in the gospel of John

John 1.1 ("In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God") is the most obvious echo in the gospel of Genesis 1.1 ("In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.")

However, there are other echoes, especially in chapters 7 and 8. But the most compelling one I see is in 8.25:

"Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning."

"From the beginning," and "in the beginning" indicate eternity, especially the eternity of God. That Jesus describes Himself as having spoken something "from the beginning" is -- in Johannine writings -- a clear indication of divinity.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Suncream may be linked to Alzheimer's disease, say experts "

"The frightening possibility of Alzheimer's disease being induced by suncream is being investigated by academics."

Believing the scripture

"When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."

We sometimes like to make a dichotomy between Jesus' words and the written scriptures.

But there is no dichotomy here. Instead, the disciples believed (trusted in) the written word. They likewise trusted in the words spoken by Jesus. The 2 go together. Making a false dichotomy solves no problems, and instead puts a wedge into the biblical faith.

"Had ye believed Moses ... "

Pondering the connection in John 5.46-47.

Jesus makes a direct connection between believing Moses, and believing Him (that is, Christ).

"For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"

2 connections, positive ("had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me") and negative ("if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?")

I'm all for strong, hard-nosed research. I'm for asking hard questions. But our -- as a culture -- doubts about Moses has led to our current doubts about Christ. The 2 go together. They have to.

What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us

This is an important -- and thought-provoking -- article. The author is Yuri N. Maltsev, who worked as an economist on Mikhail Gorbachev's economic reform team before defecting to the United States.

"In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal "cradle-to-grave" healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The "right to health" became a "constitutional right" of Soviet citizens.

The proclaimed advantages of this system were that it would "reduce costs" and eliminate the "waste" that stemmed from "unnecessary duplication and parallelism" — i.e., competition."

Obama's death march continues: when will we stop cutting this pseudo-liberal Obama so much slack?

"KABUL, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Four U.S. servicemen with the NATO-led force were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, the alliance said, making 2009 the deadliest year for foreign troops since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001."

How humor helps

"Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment."

Grenville Kleiser
1868-1953, Author

Monday, August 24, 2009


I was just thinking about how much I love milk.

There. I said it. In our current fat and carb and cholesterol obsessed time, I like milk.

Whole milk, in case you were wondering. One of my brothers once said that drinking whole milk was like drinking bacon fat.

Well, given that I like fairly chewy bacon, I guess I have to plead guilty. (My wife sometimes buys the lean bacon, and I wonder: what's the point? Bacon should be disgustingly fatty. That's what makes it good).

Skim milk is for pussies. Or women. Men should drink whole milk, the kind with a taste that pampers your tongue.

When I first got out of college, I had no money. And it was a sacrifice, but I drank nearly a gallon of milk a day. I still go through huge amounts.

Because it's good. And fun to drink. And -- in the end -- quite good for you. What other things can claim that?

How to be distinguished

"There is only one way in the world to be distinguished. Follow your instinct! Be yourself, and you'll be somebody. Be one more blind follower of the blind, and you will have the oblivion you desire."

Bliss Carman
1861-1929, Poet

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eat Fat With Tomatoes to Absorb All the Nutrients

"Tomatoes are a good source of the antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene. But if you eat a tomato without adding a little fat, your body is unlikely to absorb all these nutrients."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Talks Michael Pritchard's water filter turns filthy water drinkable

Working toward a goal

"If we fix a goal and work towards it, then we are never just passing time."

Anna Neagle

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Enjoying every minute

"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored."

Earl Nightingale
1921-1989, Author and Radio Announcer

Black Tea Fights Diabetes

"Black tea, long known for its antioxidants, immune boosting and antihypertensive properties, could have another health benefit.

Researchers studied the polysaccharide levels of green, oolong and black teas and whether they could be used to treat diabetes."

Reader's Digest plans prearranged bankruptcy

This is, I suspect, a victim not so much of the internet (most Reader's Digest subscribers probably don't use the net that often) but of demographics: their subscribers are elderly, and literally dying off. The current economy didn't help, either, but this is a magazine that has weathered decades (it was founded in 1922). Economies can be weathered. Demographics are harder to shake.

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - Reader's Digest Association Inc, whose namesake magazine has been a staple of dentists' offices for generations, said on Monday it planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for its U.S. businesses as part of a prearranged plan with lenders to cut debt by 75 percent."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Anything you want

"You can have anything you want - if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, have anything you desire, accomplish anything you set out to accomplish - if you will hold to that desire with singleness of purpose."

Robert Collier
Writer and Publisher

What To Do If Force Vaccinated

The hysteria about swine flu continues unabated. While the reality is that swine flu -- clinically speaking -- is no different from your average, garden-variety flu that comes around every year, there is a really dangerous trend toward forcing vaccinations -- especially for health and medical providers -- for this flu. Here are some suggestions if you are forced to be vaccinated.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How to Beat and Prevent Osteoporosis Naturally

"(NaturalNews) As we age, our bones begin to erode, which to some extent is normal and a natural result of aging. However, some of us lose so much bone that our skeletons become weakened and deformed and in severe cases we incur loss of bone density in multiple places. That is osteoporosis, and it frequently causes fractures of the hip, spine and forearm. At its worst, bones can become so frail that they can crack and break under the body's own weight!"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obama's Tone-Deaf Health Campaign

"It didn't take chaotic town-hall meetings, raging demonstrators and consequent brooding in various sectors of the media to bring home the truth that the campaign for a health-care bill is, to put it mildly, not going awfully well. It's not hard now to envision the state of this crusade with just a month or two more of diligent management by the Obama team—think train wreck. It may one day be otherwise in the more perfect world of universal coverage, but for now disabilities like the tone deafness that afflicts this administration from the top down are uninsurable."

Doing the right thing

"People of character do the right thing, not because they think it will change the world but because they refuse to be changed by the world."

Michael Josephson
Radio Commentator

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Obama's healthcare horror

Some more great insights -- on health care reform, Pelosi, Palin, Obama, and class differences in America -- from Camille Paglia:

"And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech."

Living consciously

"Living consciously involves being genuine; it involves listening and responding to others honestly and openly; it involves being in the moment."

Sidney Poitier
Actor and Author

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Culture and politics

"The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

"Take that off, you look ridiculous!"

Bad Vestments

Why socialism doesn't work

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Baroness Margaret Thatcher

10 Lepers

I'm trying to puzzle out some connections that seems to be floating around Luke 17.11-19:

"And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."

First off, the number of the lepers -- 10 -- seems pertinent. (My rule of thumb: if the Bible gives a number, it's important. It's our job to figure out why it's important).

I'm wondering if there's any relation to the contemporary Jewish requirement that there be a minyan (a minimum of 10 men) to hold certain religious rites, including public worship. I don't know if the 10 rule was already observed in first century Palestine. The bigger question I'm wondering is whether this was a synagogue. Would lepers -- being ritually unclean -- have had separate synagogues?

Also -- could the 10 hearken back to Gen. 18.32? ("And he said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.") The number in Gen. 18 is used in some rabbinic arguments for the minimum for a minyan. In Luke 17, there were not 10 found to give thanks. But there was one, and he a "stranger." (Possibly indicating a non-Jew, or a Samaritan (vs. 11) Jew, or a God-fearing gentile).

"The International Community"

Another piece from Voice of America which begins, "The international community expresses outrage ..."

Always remember: when the term "international community" is used, it's a code. It means actions or thoughts which are approved the current US administration, and US poodles around the world.

The US will tolerate any kind of dictatorial actions, heinous crimes, or repression. What will not be tolerated are countries which will not bow the knee to the US.

This is why, for example, China or Israel can commit grievous human rights abuses, while if North Korea or Libya do the same thing, it sets off the Hillary doll. It's because the North Koreans and Libyans don't care if they please the US. That's the one (and only) offense we won't tolerate.

Circumstances and disposition

"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition."

Martha Washington
1732-1802, First American First Lady

Monday, August 10, 2009

Catholic churches -- Roman and otherwise

When I was a student at Moody Bible Institute, a church history professor that Rome was not "catholic" (in the "universal" sense) because of its name: The Roman Catholic Church.

Either Rome was Catholic or Roman, but it couldn't be both, or so he argued.

I repeated this once in an online discussion, and someone called me on the carpet, saying that Roman churches called themselves "Catholic," but not "Roman Catholic," and that RC was a term used by those who disagreed with Rome.

I started looking, and realized that the one who said that was right. Roman churches don't call themselves Roman Catholic.

But I saw something interesting yesterday. It was a young child's baptismal certificate, and while it said "Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church," it said that the baptism was "according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church."

I'm guessing they used the term in contradistinction to the rites used by Eastern Catholic churches, which are in fellowship with Rome, but use a Byzantine rite. Anyone else seen Rome using "Roman Catholic" to describe herself?

Eliminating mess

"Write a goal every single month to eliminate a mess from your life, and when you do - abundance will come in."

Raymond Aaron
Success Coach and Speaker

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Lex orandi and transubstantiation

If we follow from the argument (Lex ordandi, lex credendi) that what is found in the liturgy is what is really believed, or at least the most succinct distillation of what is believed, I'm wondering how 2 crucial parts of the liturgy can permit belief in a remaining presence of bread and wine in the Sacramental meal.

Specifically, these:

1) When the communicant receives the elements, he is told, "The Body of Christ," and "The Blood of Christ." If there is a presence of both Body and bread, Blood and wine (the Lutheran doctrine), why is there no mention of the bread and wine? Most Lutherans would argue that a continuing presence of bread and wine is a confessional statement; why no mention of that in the formula?

2) The singing of the Nunc Dimittis after the Communion.

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel." (BCP, 1662)

St. Simeon, of course, had seen the Incarnate God there in the Temple. But by singing this, we are confessing not that we believe we have received, but that we have seen the Savior. "Seen" as in a visual, seeing of the Savior. We are not confessing to seeing bread or wine -- we are confessing that we have seen the Savior.

There are other questions, of course, about transubstantiation, but these seem to be important liturgical ones.

A French Revelation, or The Burning Bush

I've got to admit to being a bit uncomfortable posting this. Primarily because I disagree with the Council for Secular Humanism, and what they stand for. But they have done us a favor by bringing this to our attention.

The take home message from this? Watch for someone's theology. Especially for someone we're putting in a position of power.

People who imagine that theology (religious faith, beliefs, however you wish to describe it) can be separated from our day to day lives are kidding themselves.

Theology is the most important thing we can know about someone. And every one has a theology. Both "there is no theology" or "I don't believe in God" are theological statements. Likewise those attributed to George W. Bush in this article.

"Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse."

How We Can Lead Others in the Health Care Revolution

"There are a lot of things we want to change, but in order to succeed, we decided to target the areas where we could be most successful. We came up with a strategy that is really modeled after how the shift occurred in the tobacco industry. After decades of mass fraud and deception, the truth about the dangers of smoking finally won and became common knowledge."

Behind The Clinton 'Rescue' In North Korea

"The capture of two US reporters of Chinese descent, who worked for Al Gore, and their subsequent rescue from North Korea's clutches by former President Bill Clinton was a setup from the beginning. Nothing reported about this story comes close to the real truth. As I covered the story in a prior brief, the initial capture of the reporters on the frozen Yalu River (where no one could prove which side of the China-NK border they were really on) was a predictable tactic used by North Korea to obtain secret concessions from the US."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Where you're going

"If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else!"

"Yogi" Berra
Baseball Player and Team Manager

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Doing good

"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

William Penn
1644-1718, Religious Leader and founder of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Seeing good

"The world can change in an instant. So can the way you choose to see it. Why not choose to see the good in yourself and others."

Bob Perks
Author and Speaker

Monday, August 03, 2009

Reasons and results

"Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait. The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don't count."

Dr. Robert Anthony

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Obama's revealing body language

"I am stunned that the official White House Blog published this picture and that it is in the public domain. The body language is most revealing.

Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?"