Friday, August 23, 2002

Homeschoolers seeking college acceptance.
Not where I want to live. I was born in California and went to school there for a number of years. Two of my sisters were born there. It's where my teams are located. I feel a great affinity for the state. Nevertheless, there is much about the place that is scary to me when I return -- namely, it feels like a police state. Everything is barred and locked. What once was a beautiful state is now dirty, smoggy and gray. Plus, there's an overwhelming prescence of government everywhere. The last time I was there my clock radio went off to a commercial to stop smoking -- I was thinking it was an advertisement for a clinic -- but it was for a state run program to get people to quit smoking. A small example, I know, but it was pervasive.

We had some friends over the other night and I noticed how deep the voice of the teenage boy was getting and said something to his Mom. She said that no his voice sounds the same as it always did. I disagreed saying that the change may have been too gradual for her to notice, but since I hadn't talked to him in at least three months, I could tell the difference. I wonder if it's not the same thing in California -- I haven't been back there, except for a two separate brief weekends, for about four or five years. It has gotten much more oppressive.

Here's a link to a cover story in the very right leaning magazine World which has a cover story on how California represents what will happen if them liberals take over. When I read it, my former liberal tendencies come out -- I wince and think that this is just typical right-wing hysteria. But they do have a valid point -- there really has been a change there. This was the first time I'd been back that I came away thinking that California was not a place where I wanted to live. This was after prior visits to, for example SF where I had two solicitations for drugs and one for homosexual sex in a two block walk to the BART, or LA for a walk in Koreatown after the riots.

On the other hand, you can see Ann Salisbury's blog for a list of what she see's as positive changes.

[More]. The World story leads off with the new effort of the State of California to impose itself into homeschooling. Eugene Volokh looks at this story here, noting he supports output measures but not input criteria -- such as the credentialling of parents as teachers. Of course, the outcome measures need to be objective and separate from ideological outcome measures -- it that's a given, I can live with it. If the exam was filled with the type of reactionary liberalism of the NEA, then it's flawed to begin with
More Surveys. See the laughable list of the 100 greatest Brits -- John Lydon, John Lennon, but not Jack Lewis? Robbie Williams but not Wycliffe?

Also, are Scots and the Irish Brits? William Wallace and Bono?

And what about those who were foreign born, but made their life and reputation in England -- I'm thinking of George Frideric Handel?

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Survey Says! Quite a few years ago now, Sat.Night Live had a skit where "Jeanne Kirkpatrick" was pitted against another contestant on a Jeopardy style show where the host posed a question and "Jeanne" provided the correct answer and her opponent provided an incorrect answer. The host then checked a survey of the audience to determine who was right. It was outrageously funny.

But it's not funny in real life. Howard Bashman has a good piece up on Slate about the Supreme Court using surveys to determine what's constitutional and what's not.

[Update] I blew it -- I misremembered the segment, according to this transcript. Reading over it, I think my misremembered version is funnier. BTW, this looks like a wonderful place. Now I can finally get the words to "Iranians' pains come mainly from Khomeini." as sung by Edwin Newman (another one I have better memories of).

Objections to the Church of Rome. Kevin has a short list of big stumbling blocks that trips him up when looking at the Church of Rome. As he lists them, they are as follows:
- The infallibility of the pope.
- Apostolic succession.
- The Assumption of Mary.
- The Immaculate Conception.
- Purgatory.
- Transubstantiation.
- Canonization of Saints
For me, I only have a couple of problems with some of these -- and really it's only one, interrelated problem.

I'll dispose of the easy things first -- apostolic succession (the link for each main subject will be to the 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia online) -- this does not seem to be "extra-Biblical." In fact, as I read the New Testament, I see evidence that there was ordination by the apostles and then to those chosen by the followers in succession. Now, then, if you mean that there has to be one human leader of one temporal church on earth who has to have a royal lineage that traces back to one apostle, as is claimed for the Pope, going back to Peter, then I agree.

Transubstantiation -- big doctrine, but ultimately, it's much like that of baptism -- there are good arguments for and against, but nothing conclusive (say beyond a reasonable doubt?). I'll be tricky and say that I believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, since that includes both transubstantiation and consubstantiation, IMO. I reject the idea that it's just a symbolic thing as being unbiblical. I find it mortifying to think that someone could go through the rite of communion and then take the consecrated bread and toss it in a toilet. Don't you find that repugnant? The Old Testament is replete with references to consecrated items -- why should this be if post-Jesus these are all abolished? (see also, the Summa).

Purgatory -- we've discussed it before, I go with what Art. 22 of the Anglican Communion: "The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God." Having reaffirmed my Protestant loyalties, I must add that this doesn't seem to be a big deal for the Catholic Church -- so why should we force them to make it a big deal? See also, C.S. Lewis on purgatory and this book review (via Charles Murtaugh).

Canonization of Saints. Here, consider these words from the article I link to: "the Church seeing in the saints nothing more than friends and servants of God whose holy lives have made them worthy of His special love. She does not pretend to make gods." Is there really a problem with that? Isn't there someone in your church who seems to be truly holy or devoted to God -- don't you want to be like them? To have them pray for you? To the extent a church recognizes these people, is it really a problem? Didn't the writer of the letter to the Hebrews do this in chapter 11 when listing the heroes of the faith?

Now having said all this, I've left out the infallibility of the pope, the immculate conception and the assumption of Mary -- all of which are related. Specifically, the Pope has spoken ex cathedra twice in 21 centuries. Here, the Encyclopedia that I've been referring to isn't as much help, since the first exercise, dealing with the IC, occurred in 1854 when the Pope issued Ineffabilis Deus and the second occured after publication of the Encyclopedia.

But the rest is going to have to wait for part 2 -- I need to get back to work.
Pro Football, week by week. [updated with links] Sports Illustrated has it's list of must see games. I agree with most of the list, with these additions:

Week 1. It starts off on a Thursday night -- 49ers at Giants -- nice, since there will be no baseball. Also, if I was to pick one Texan game to watch, it would be this one: Cowboys at Texans, not the return of the Oilers Titans.

Week 4. I can't see picking Cowboys at Rams for the game of the week. Sure, it's a weak week (are Ewoks writing this stuff?). But I'd go with Browns at Steelers or Titans at Raiders.

Similarly, for Week 5, I can see the appeal of the Charger game, but would still have to pick Patriots at Dolphins or Redskins at Titans.

The Packers at Patriots is my pick for Week 6 -- this week we should find out whether the Pack is Back. But SI is holding out for week 7, when the Pack takes on the 'skins.

Now, for week 8, how can you skip over Colts at Redskins? That should be pinball, well, except for coaches Dungy and Lewis.

Huge mistake in picking the Bears at the Rams, an otherwise good game, for week 11. Not when you've got Patriots going into the Black Hole to face the Raiders.

The 13th week is the best on the schedule -- even the mediocre games have attractive reasons for watching: Redskins at Cowboys, Dolphins at Bills, Steelers at Jaguars, Titans at Giants, Broncos at Chargers, Seahawks at 49ers or the one SI picked, Bears at Packers. But none of those beats the Jets at the Raiders -- except for one: Rams at Eagles.

On Week 14, we get a reprise of the game whereby the club with the only undefeated record (1972 Dolphins) defeated the club who fielded the greatest team ever (1985 Bears).

For week 15, they pick the Raiders at the Dolphins -- I'd pick any Raider game, of course. Nevertheless, objectively, I've got to go with the division rivalry between the 'skins at Philly.

Finally, last week of the season, it will go down to the last game -- which will be must win for the 49ers to make the playoffs, only they will be playing the Rams, who will already have the division title. Pick this game or the Sunday night game (Buccaneers at Bears), not the Texans.
Signs of the Impending Apocalypse: Sojourners Magazine -- evangelical Christian and very left wing leads off its current letter quoting P.J. O'Rourke: "Worrying is less work than doing something to fix the worry. Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom with the dishes."

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Polyamory. Just in case you missed it, the Unitarians are looking at Polyamory, which is "the philosophy and practice of loving or relating intimately to more than one person at a time with honesty and integrity." Uh, yeah.

See David Mills comments[scroll down].

The joke used to be "What do you get when you cross a Unitarian with a Jehovah's Witness?
Somebody who comes knocking at your door for no apparent reason." Now I think the joke is just the Unitarians.

But then, polyamory brings up strong negative emotions for me, so I must "gently explore those feelings by talking with someone [I] trust." Any takers?
Strike Three. On top of my trepidations about the Raiders (below), it looks like we've got a great baseball season about to go down the tubes. As of sunrise this morning, there was a virtual three-way tie in the AL West, with Boston just 3.5 games behind for the wild-card.
Raiders. "I have a very bad feeling about this" is of course, the one line that has been present in every Star Wars movie. It's also a good summary of the way I'm approaching the start of opening day for the Raiders. Right now, based on what I'm seeing, I don't expect my beloved Raiders to win more than six games -- and that may be optimistic. Specifically, the Raiders are making way too many mistakes -- they're looking incredibly sloppy and undisciplined. Yeah, you say, hasn't that always been the case. Actually, no. Here's this note I saw awhile back by Dave Casper:
"We probably out-fundamentaled most teams," he said. "We didn't make mistakes. The image that we had, the Raider image, worked to our benefit because people missed the point of how fundamentally sound we were.

"Ultimately, that Raider image caused the team to go away from the fundamentals. I think the Raider image destroyed the Raiders. All of a sudden, the Raider image started to take over, where they were tough first and good second."
He's right -- in those days the Raiders got penalized for agressive behavior, but not for making stupid mistakes.

Yet in both preseason games played thus far, the Raiders are fumbling, stumbling, bumbling, generating penalties, and generally stinking out the joint.

A contrary opinion may be found in the SacBee.
Call it. Fritz, unable to locate the Urim and Thummim, decides by coin-toss.
Bye-bye. Apparently, there's no love lost for Bob Barr -- I've already heard a number of gleeful comments and seen some things on the blogs to that effect. Nevertheless, I'll tell you he did a very effective job in holding some people's feet to the fire. I know he was tough on the place where I work -- and his toughness seemed to be well placed.

And here I'll be frank -- I don't always agree with some of the members of Congress who harass those of us on the Executive side -- but I really am glad they are there -- these members -- especially the effective ones -- perform a vital function.

On a related note, Cynthia McKinney is gone -- she was the antithesis of Barr -- not because she is a black, liberal female. No, she was an ineffective flake. You may think Barr was a flake -- I'll withold judgment there -- nevertheless, he was effective.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Berkowitz. I referenced Peter Berkowitz last week -- on Sunday the WaPo had a book(s) review by him -- on one of his specialties -- Friedrich Nietzsche.
Semper Fi. Speaking of the Marines -- here's an article Dad sent me that demonstates how the Marines take care of their own. This is a very unique group -- I am grateful to have them on our side. I forwarded it to a retired Army friend and his reaction was to take it to his son.
Martial Doings. Tonight the family is heading down to the Mall for a picnic and the Army Band doing the 1812 Concert program (with canons, of course). Actually, my oldest daughter used to go to a daycare right across from the White House, so the kids spent a lot of time down on the Mall at a special tree known as "the climbing tree." It's near the Washington Monument and the Sylvan Theater, so we'll probably let the little ones play on it until the concert.

On Friday night, the Colonel (my Dad) is taking the grandkids to the Evening Parade at 8th and I.
Design, etc. Thanks for the kind notes about the changes to the template. Now that I figured out what my problem was with the comments, I can go ahead and make the changes I've been thinking about for a little while. I should also look at this in a couple other browsers -- I use IE and was really surprised at how different it was on Netscape. Last, there are some links that I need to put in -- please let me know any other suggestions (including links) you might have.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Law School. There has been a small flurry of notes about going to law school lately -- it brings back a lot of memories, but I was going to remain silent. For some reason Bobby Allison-Gallimore is a tipping point for me -- so here are a few note from this ex-law student.

First, get a hold of a copy of James D. Gordon III, How Not to Succeed in Law School, 100 Yale L.J. 1679 (1991). Read it weekly -- or daily even. I wish it were on line, but it's not -- it came out after I finished Law School -- too bad -- it's a riot.

Second, don't ever do anything to bait a professor. Don't argue -- don't brown-nose -- don't flirt -- don't make any large arm movements -- nothing. I made this mistake: In our Civ.Pro. book, there was a chapter titled something like "The Erie Revolution" referring to Erie R. v. Tompkins and I was just learning about law reviews in legal research, so I decided to look up some articles on this case. All that was fine -- the problem was I was sitting in the law library reading one of these when the Civ.Pro. prof walked by and asked what I was reading. I should've said anything but what I did -- naturally I was called on to brief a case -- Erie -- that I did not understand.

Third, despite what I just said, don't ever shy away from a chance to get on your feet and brief a case or go back and forth with your professor. You will get your head handed to you -- but it's better to do it now and get the practice in when you don't have a paying client. All you're losing in lawschool is your dignity -- while you're learning valuable lessons. Remember, you're always wrong, even when you're right.

Fourth, you are about to endure three years of hell. Seriously -- it is such a rough time, you can't imagine it. I recall at the end of it all, we had a class meeting to discuss speakers, hooding ceremony and so on. Someone raised the idea of a class picture and one student, who was a good student said "Look, I understand that some of you have good memories about this and that's fine -- I'll sit for the picture -- don't make me pay for it -- I don't want one -- This has been the worse three years of my life." That about sums it up for me as well.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Coverwatch. It's mid-August -- always the slowest news time of the year. So Time magazine has a coverstory on How To Save The Earth. The picture is pretty, anyway. Newsweek tries to counter with a story attempt at making news -- The War Crimes of Afghanistan. Now, the point of my little cover watch is just to compare covers -- yeah, sometimes I slip into an analysis of the text of the story. But the purpose is just to look at what the editors of these two magazines see as the lead story of the week. Time, at least, seems to be taking on a big issue during a slow news period. Newsweek seems to be trying to make something out of nothing -- when I look at the Newseek cover, I see Jenin.
Attendance. Here are some attendance figures from some events yesterday in the Washington DC area:

Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles - 34,007.
Charlotte Sting v. Washington Mystics (WNBA) 6,038 (okay, that was in Charlotte. Similarly, the Freedom's game with the Philly Charge was played before 6,547, but at Villanova Stadium)
Legg Mason Tennis - unknown [I've tried finding what the official attendance on this was, but have been unable to do so].
"Millions for Reparations March" - "the turnout was low" (Post) "4,000 or so" (Washington Times) "an energetic crowd" (New York Times) and, finally, "Hundreds of blacks" (AP).

So why is this news?