Friday, March 20, 2009

Good Thing We Didn't Get Palin

Shane Vander Hart pointed this selection from an op/ed by Noemie Emery in the Washington Examiner:
Now that the Obama presidency is nearing the 60-day mark, it’s time to thank those fastidious scribes on the left and the right who worked so hard to warn us against Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, and the dire things that would surely occur if she ever got close to executive power.

How right they were to insist that she was unfit for high office. Let’s just imagine what she might have done:

As president, she might have caused the stock market to plunge over 2,000 points in the six weeks after she assumed office, left important posts in the Treasury unfilled for two months, been described by insiders as ‘overwhelmed’ by the office, and then gone on to diss the British Prime Minister on his first state visit, giving him, as one head of state to another, a set of DVDs plucked from the aisles of Wal Mart, a tasteful gift, even if they can’t be played on a TV in Britain. (Note, the Prime Minister, who is losing his eyesight, may even be blind in one eye).

As vice president, she might have told Katie Couric that when the stock market crashed in 1929, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on TV to reassure a terrified nation. Or on her first trip abroad as Secretary of State, she might have, as the AP reported, “raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe…when she mispronounced her “EU counterparts names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe’s,” then gave the Russian minister a gag “reset” button, on which the word “reset” was translated incorrectly.

What a good thing that Palin, whom Christopher Buckley called “an embarrassment, and a dangerous one,” wasn’t in office to cause such debacles, and that we have Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton instead.

But frankly a fair point considering how badly Bush would've gotten reamed by the media for these gaffes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Two Tones of the Preacher, According to John Calvin

Dan Phillips live-blogged a conference in Sacramento. I didn't read much of it, but I thought this was a great comment from Steve Lawson on Calvin's view of preaching:

"Calvin said the preacher should have two voices: one for gathering the sheep, and one for fending off the wolves."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life is Short

So don't get hit by a bus.

Beautiful reflections, Margaux!

Juan Pierre: An Unsung Hero in a World of Selfish Athletes

I'm glad Manny's back with the Dodgers. They need that pop in the middle of the order (especially considering their pitching staff) and he really does seem to positively influence the players around him. As a Dodger fan, it's great.

The guy who loses, of course, is Juan Pierre. The scraggly outfielder who was overpaid because of the market when he was a free agent has done exactly what the Dodgers paid him to do (i.e. hit around .300 as a legitimate lead-off man and steal a ton of bases- he stole 40 last year in 119 games, 34 of which he didn't start). And yet he's gotten nothing but flack from Dodger fans.

Not this one. I'm a National League, small ball guy, through and through. I love pitching, defense, and guys who can run. I always thought that if the Dodgers ever could have gotten a full, healthy year out of Furcal and Pierre together at the top of an order, it would have been an amazing one-two punch. Pitchers would have a lot of trouble focusing on the three and four hitters with those two guys on the paths.

But all that is really tertiary to my point for this post, which is that Juan Pierre has been about as much of a grown-up and class act as anyone could be in the midst of the Manny saga. Last year when he was playing behind Andruw Jones, and later Manny, Pierre played hard every game and never complained (even when his consecutive games played streak was snapped at 434). The only comments you ever heard from him were things like, "I understand- we're trying to put the best team on the field and I want to do whatever it takes to still help us win." That's not a direct quote, but that was his constant tone.

And earlier this offseason when the Manny talks resumed, Pierre started asking for a trade if they got Manny back. Was he bitter? Nope. Again, he understands, but the guy just wants to play ball.

Here's what Pierre had to say about the re-signing:
I understand the situation, and if they hadn't signed Manny, it would have been a surprise. I'm not bitter about it. I totally get it, you know what I mean? But I want to play. So they gave us permission to talk to teams and try to find a situation that can work out for everybody, and that's all I can ask for...
I told [manager Joe] Torre today that I totally understand what's going on, and he said he would try to get me in there whenever he can. I have no beef with that. I told Joe I will be the team guy I've always been.

Look, Manny is Manny, and they've got two kids in Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, and they can play. They had a chance to get Manny for free last year and they had to do it. Now, nobody is bidding for him, they had to bring him back. They kept me because they didn't want to be left with two outfielders. I'm not saying I'm OK with it, but I understand. It's just an unfortunate situation for me.

Juan Pierre wants to play, and he plays the game like it's supposed to be played. He runs out every ground ball. He never complains. He's giddy when he hits that rare home run.

Yesterday Terrell Owens, a guy whose talent is as high as the dollar amount on his paycheck, got cut by a football team after another productive season. Why? Because he can't get along with his quarterback. T. O. got thrown more balls than any player on his team last year and complained anyway.

The T. O.'s of the world need to take a lesson from Juan Pierre: it's about the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. For that matter, it's about being a man, not a boy.

As a Dodger fan, I hope Pierre sticks around- he's a useful fourth outfielder with all that speed. But as a guy who respects Juan Pierre, I hope for his sake he finds a trade and can play every day somewhere. If anyone deserves it based on character and attitude, it's Juan Pierre.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Derek Thomas posted today on Nehemiah's expression of real, strong anger in Neh. 13 at the sin of God's people even after He had restored them to the land. He quotes Packer's A Passion for Faithfulness,
What we must bear in mind here, however, is that the conventions and expectations of our smooth post-Christian, relativistic, secular, amoral Western culture are not necessarily in line with the truth and wisdom of God. Any embarassament we might feel at Nehemiah's forthrightness could be a sign of our own spiritual and moral limitations rather than his. Was it weakness that in Nehemiah's code of conduct the modern shibboleth, "thou shalt be nice" seems to have had no place, while "thou shat be faithful to God and zealous for God" was evidently basic to it? Would Moses, David, Jesus, or Paul ever have qualified as "Mr. Nice Guy"? The assumption, so common today, that niceness is of the essence of goodness needs to be exploded. Nehemiah should not be criticized for thinking that there are more imprtant things in life than being nice. (p.182)
Great stuff from Packer and Thomas, reminding us that what God desires from us is not just to be "nice" but to be jealously faithful for the glory of God and to hate sin because it kills people and takes away from that glory.

Go read the whole thing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Tyrannical Communist vs. the Homophobe - An Internal Battle?

Today I was reading at a Starbucks in Orange (South Orange County, CA) when I saw a college age-ish hipster come in with his longboard, trendy jacket, skinny jeans and of course, messenger bag.

Not that there's anything wrong with messenger bags- I had mine right next to me. But this guy not only had a "Prop H8" sticker on his longboard, but a rainbow ribbon and a bunch of buttons pinned to his messenger bag, two of which read, "People who believe in hell deserve it" and "Boycott homophobia."

The funny thing about it: his messenger bag was a Mao bag. That is, it had a big red Chinese communist star smack in the middle of the otherwise plain beige canvas bag.

As if communist systems like that one didn't oppress homosexuals probably more violently than the vast majority of folks who voted yes on Prop 8. My guess is that he wears the Mao bag just because it is funny or a cool bag. Either way, it was a hilariously ignorant walking contradiction.

Barbie the Jew?

I thought this one sentence from Al Mohler's post today on Barbie was just amazing: "In Saudi Arabia, the government's Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice once denied Barbie entrance into the kingdom, complaining that she is 'Jewish, with revealing clothes and shameful postures.'"

Who knew?