Thursday, June 26, 2003

Speaking of preachers, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, here in town, has appointed Paige Patteron as president. Texas Monthly used to call him the conservative revolutionary. Liberal Baptists across the state must be weeping and gnashing their teeth, for Patterson was one of the front line warriors in the conservative take over of the Southern Baptist Convention. But, although he worked from Texas, he didn't win Texas. The Liberal wing of the convention is firmly in control in Texas. This nomination certainly says "they have the state but we have the seminary".

One interesting comment early on was that the new president must have the qualification of getting along with the faculty. Given the recent actions of the seminary administration toward the faculty, that comment should have been delivered with tongues firmly planted in cheeks.

So, the "rank and file" will watch see how this contributes to the impending split between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptistic Convention. Although denomination leaders do not want to admit it, that split will cause great difficulty in some churches, for some of them have divided congregations. There are even families with divided loyalties. It is a little reminiscent of the Civil War, with families and friends splitting over which side to choose.
I office up on the 9th floor of the Justice Center. I can hear a street preacher cutting loose 9 floors below. I cannot understand what he is saying, just the noise. It actually reminded me of listening to a really bad sermon in church. You know, the kind where the preacher got lost in some tangent and could not find his way back, or is droning, or obviously is not prepared, or just not good at preparing sermons. Your mind wanders off to think about something more productive, but the noise is still there.

Sometimes the preacher and the congregation join in the conspiracy. They have tuned out and he knows it. He can see their boredom. But, he is stuck on his course and feels he must finish. The congregation knows they are stuck until he is finished, since it is not polite to get up and leave. So they suffer together, shepherd and flock, until it is mercifully over.

Where does bad preaching come from? There are several sources. First, lack of inspiration. That is, the preacher's own spiritual life is dry and he has nothing to say. Second, lack of preparation. It takes a lot of study and writing to produce a good sermon, if you "full text" it. Hastily scribbled thoughts often do not hold up in the presentation. Third, laziness may prevent the preacher from putting in the hard work necessary to do the job. It is easier to just comment or offer supposedly practical thoughts on a subject than to study the text, read commentaries, look at the original language, etc. Fourth, lack of ability. Some guys just don't have it. I watched the local, public access channel the other day. It is held hostage to preachers in little churches who bring in videos of their sermons so they can say they are on t.v. I could not even tell what the guy was talking about. But, I'll tell you, this guy down on the sidewalk has both a lot of passion and a lot of volume. It must be playing havoc with the t.v. crews down on the sidewalk to report the murder trial. I hope the guy is laying it on. My experience is that media folks could use it.
The jury in the Chante Mallard case returned a guilty verdict in one hour. That usually bodes ill for the defendant. The punishment hearing starts up in 30 minutes or so. Expect the jury to be outraged. How can you sit there and let a man die without even calling 911. Mallard was drinking, taking Ecstasy, and smoking marijuana. Just a great night on the town. To keep from getting arrested, she let the man die, then dumped the body in Cobb park. So many bodies have been found in Cobb Park, she probably figured there was a regular patrol out there that would find him.

This case points out that it is always better to take your lumps when you mess up. Problems and mistakes will not stay hidden. They only grow. Mallard has traded a DWI for a murder and will likely spend years in jail. The case also points out, for the zillionth time, how stupid it is to go out and take drugs and drink. She is now the poster girl for impaired judgment. At least Katy Couric isn't taking up money for her.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

"When I'm president, we'll have executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day," said Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri. I guess he never heard of the separation of powers doctrine. Gephardt has now shown us two things clearly. First, he is ignorant of the basic structure of our government. Second, he has no respect for the rule of law. This, my friends, is a dangerous man.

Monday, June 23, 2003

This is embarrassing. Wives of soldiers in the 3rd Infantry are mad that their husbands are staying until August. They are writing their congressmen and demanding the return of their husbands. One said “We’re all making banners and planning vacations for July in Disney World. It’s like a slap in the face. It hurts.” We’ve obviously had too much peace. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the soldier’s job is to fight.
Mark Byron’s priceless quote: “the American Librarian Association seems to be so militantly anti-censorship that they seem to be flacks for the libertine wing of American politics; you can fit my sympathy in a flea's navel and still have room for both Bill and Hillary's moral compasses.” I’m going to have to memorize that and reuse it. Read him here.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Welcome home, Mike! Hope you enjoyed your vacation. The girls went to La Playa Maya in your absence. The Little Woman and I went to the hallowed ground of Chaps, though. We missed you. Hope you had a good time. Here is the Sunday School lesson for today. However, you'd need to hear the tape to get the preaching and the comments on Bruce Almighty. Let's go to Starbucks!


The alliances we make can have a great effect on us. If we ally ourselves with someone who is corrupt, we will often become corrupt. Even if we do not corrupt ourselves, we may suffer the same consequences as the corrupt partner because of our alliance him.

When I was in private practice, parents would often come to me for help for their child who was in jail. They would often say “he is not a bad kid, he was just hanging out with the wrong people.” I would often think “yes, and he will be doing that for a while longer now.”

Paul warned us about alliances with unbelievers in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. [Read it!] It is commonly believed that this passage refers to marriage between believers and non-believers, but could also apply to other partnerships or alliances. This principal was set out in the Old Testament too, as the Israelites were to be separate and not adopt the ways of their pagan neighbors.

During Isaiah’s time, Israel violated this premise by making an alliance with Syria to oppose Judah. This was really a symptom of the fact that Israel had become pagan like Syria and its other neighbors. The book of Hosea deals with the idolatry of Israel and God’s promise of judgment.

17:1-3 (Destruction of Syria)

These verses prophecy the destruction of Damascus and other cities in Syria. Damascus was captured by the Assyrians in 732 B.C. 2 Kings 16:9 records this. This also tells you, by the way, that Syria had taken control over land given to Israel by God, that had formerly been land of the Amorites. Numbers 32:35 says that the children of Gad built Aroer. God says these cities will be destroyed so that animals will sleep there undisturbed and all their glory will be gone. (Panthers sleeping in the streets?)

This passage also shows that Israel will be unprotected (the fortress will also cease) and will no longer have glory as when they followed the Lord and had his protection.

17:4-6 (A Remnant Preserved)

Isaiah again shows that God will preserve a remnant of his people.

17:7-8 (Respect For God)

This passage shows the common reaction of the carnal man to life’s trials. When things are going well, he takes the credit, he believes it will last forever, he has no time for God. But, when things go bad, he will “look to his Maker”. When we feel like we lose control, we look to God to be in control. But, the fact is, we are never in control, during good times or bad. Only God is sovereign. God wants us to look to our Maker all the time, not just during trouble. See Micah 7:7. Sometimes he has to use trouble to get our attention. I had a friend who became an atheist in seminary. But, later, he hurt his back and was out of work recovering for a year. He came to believe in God again, as he was totally out of control and totally helpless.

The second phase is to have respect for God. Prayer becomes a priority when we are desperate. Worship becomes a necessity. We recognize God’s place versus our place.

Third, we give up the things we have made. In Old Testament times, those things were false religious idols the Israelites adopted from their pagan neighbors. We are more likely now to put faith in what we have bought, such as houses and cars and businesses. These are really representations of ourselves rather than false gods. In our time, we tend to worship ourselves rather than Dagon or Chemosh. But, in times of trouble, we drop even this idol worship and return to God.

God gives us clear instruction on the matter of self-reliance. See Proverbs 3:5-6. Jesus also told a parable of a rich fool in Luke 12:16.

17:9-11 (Truth And Consequences)

There are consequences for abandoning God and worshiping idols. Here there is desolation and destruction of the country. God says they have forgotten the God as the source of salvation, and as the protector (rock and stronghold). Because of this their work comes to ruin, grief, and sorrow.

As countries fall here, we see these consequences in individuals. Those who turn to things other than God often bear the consequences in their lives as things break down. Romans 8:6 says to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

17:12-14 (Much Ado About Nothing)

Isaiah here points out that the nations, those opposed to God, can make a lot of noise. But, when God rebukes them, they all fall silent before him. When God is ready, all will acknowledge his sovereignty.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Orrin Hatch takes his place as the man standing the closest to the exhaust pipe. Orrin, back away from the car. Quit inhaling. Poetic justice has arrived, though, while Hatch wants to blow up the computer of everyone who has violated a copyright on their computer, he has been found with unlicensed software on his site. OK, Orrin, now be a man! Put your money where your mouth is. No, not the exhaust pipe. Blow up your computer! Now!
It is amazing how the words of the Bible are not only theological, but practical. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 says “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? “ (NASB)

I just finished a conversation with a friend about the difficulties of her friend with an unbelieving husband. They argue about it constantly. I think you see more women than men marry unbelievers, maybe because they think they can change them. But it always seems to lead to difficulty and sorrow. As one spouse wants to grow in faith and share that, the other spouse is more threatened and belligerent in opposition. Often, both end up unhappy, with unhappy children. So, pay attention! If God says it, it is for a reason. And that reason is that he knows best and wants the best for you. Trust and obey, for there is no other way.
Since today is June 19th, it seems appropriate to print the Black National Anthem, written by James Weldon Johnson, and called “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand.
True to our God,
True to our native land.

June 19th is called Juneteenth here, and celebrates the day that slaves were informed of emancipation in Texas. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

What is up with Bill O'Reilly? Who would have thought he was such a whiner? He doesn't like the fact that people write about him on the Internet. This is the guy who prides himself in being the big bully of the block, who does not care what other people think about him? I guess he cares now that he is famous. Frankly, I think it is the typical bully mentality. He can dish it out, but he can't take it. Watch his show and see him run all over people. But, when people criticize him on the Internet he thinks it is unfair and should be regulated. Waa, Waa, Waa. But, hey Bill, you could move to Europe. The Council of Europe wants a law that requires blogs and others to offer replies from those the criticize. What's next, if we criticize you, you get to kill us? And why is it that every organization involving Europe uses titles that sound like a cross between a backyard boy's club and the KKK? The Council of Europe? Sounds grand. I bet the leader is the grand commissioner for whining.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Adding to the continuing woes of the Roman Catholic church, a bishop in Phoenix is under investigation for a fatal hit and run accident. Since the Southern Baptist Convention is going on in Phoenix, one has to wonder if he took aim at a Baptist preacher, but I think the victim was local. This is the same bishop that just worked out the plea bargain on a child abuse issue. Since I always cringe when the SBC meets, wondering what they will come out with that will be embarassing, I appreciate the distraction our Catholic friends are providing.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

When I was little, my mother used to make stew periodically. It was her way of cleaning out the refrigerator and saving money. She put in stew meat, then whatever vegetables had been left over during the week and inhabited those various plastic containers. The stew was pretty good, but you never knew what vegetables you would find in it. You did know, however, that the stew meat would always be there to give it a good, hearty taste. Without the meat, you would be disappointed.

I went to see Bruce Almighty last night and felt the same way about it. I went partly because I read that the writer was a Christian and tried to convey a message about God in the movie. The overall theme of the movie was probably the best thing about it. God brings Bruce to a place where he surrenders to God’s will, recognizing that God knows best. Along the way, you got some slapstick, some crude sexual humor, some cussing, some general crudeness, and some humanism. The ending is sort of humanistic, actually. Although Bruce surrenders to God’s will, he proceeds to take God’s advice to “be the miracle”. The surrender to God’s will produces a life more dedicated to others, and less selfish, but not necessarily to glorify God. So, the message was a little mixed, seemed good, but left you yearning for more.

God does more than just sit up there and listen to us and try to figure out what is best for us. For starters, he sent his Son to die for our sins, giving us eternal life. Then, he sent the Holy Spirit to help us live here on earth in a Christ-like fashion. Surrender to God’s will is great. But the first thing surrender means is surrender to Christ. Then, the surrender is played out in the changes God makes in us, to bring Glory to himself and to bring others to Christ. Maybe the movie will cause some to think more about God, and that is good. But, at the end, I felt maybe Mom had left the meat out of the stew.

Friday, June 13, 2003

This just in. The Baby has returned from Boston. She has just called to be picked up. I'm outta here.
Hillary's book continues to stir up controversy. Dick Morris now says that he quit working for the Clintons because Bill tackled him and tried to punch him. He claims Hillary's version in the book is a lie. I know I'm shocked.
Narong Penanam was arrested in Thailand today trying to sell a container of Cesium-137. That is one of the materials desired for the making of the so called "dirty bombs". Cesium 137 is used in industry and medicine, often in gauges. A dirty bomb, or radiological dispersion bomb, is a conventional bomb combined with radioactive materials. When the bomb explodes, the radioactive material is propelled outward. Imagine, for example, the van that blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City also containing large amounts of radioactive material that is then spread over the city. Kudos to the investigators from the United States who found out about this and tipped the Thai authorities. The battle rages on, but obviously our side is doing a good job.
The Guardian reports today that Lindsey Hilsum admits self censoring her reports from Baghdad to avoid being told to leave the city. Hilsum say Scud missile launchers in residential areas and did not report it. She actually saw on with a Scud missile loaded on it.
We are having wild weather today in Cowtown. I'm watching from the 9th floor of the Justice Center as the big, low cloud passes by. It looks like it is going to the east, but I can't tell if it is moving or rotating.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Woo-hoo. Texas is number one again. The Lone Star State ranks numero uno in diesel engines form heavy equipment. If you live in Fort Worth, you believe it, as every inch of ground is being built on simultaneously. From the Radio Shack campus, to the Pier One building, to communities of hundreds of houses that spring up over night (I always thought they came from seed). Everywhere you go you see big, yellow machines moving dirt. Why do they dig it out and haul it off, then bring in dirt from somewhere else and fill it in? Everywhere you drive, you end up behind some 25 year old dump truck belching smoke and throwing dirt and gravel everywhere. This is the view from the top. It's a little hazy.
There may be some hope for America. A survey says less than one third of people believe Hillary Clinton's claim to believe Bill when he said "I didn't have sexual relations with that woman". I think she has created a problem for her political career. If she did not believe him, she is shamelessly lying to create sympathy for herself. If she did believe him, she is too dumb to be in charge of the country.

Monday, June 09, 2003

The Baby came home at 4:00 a.m. from church camp, only to leave at 5:00 a.m. from school for a choir trip to Boston. I wonder if traveling from rural Oklahoma to urban Boston will cause a culture shock. As we stood around in the dark, watching the bus pull away, I heard parents say they would enjoy the peace and quiet. I'm not finding the quiet all that peaceful. I prefer the peace of watching her walk around in her camo pants and flip flops and t-shirt that says "half pint". Or practicing her drums. Or pleading with me to take her to Starbucks as if she doesn't really know I will. Or watching her read her prison Bible with the camo cover. Or playing piano. Or talking my ears off.

I watched Everwood last night. The kid, Ephraim, told his father he hated him. The father yelled "I hate you back". Of course, neither one really does. But still, what a hurt. In contrast, the Baby pressed her cheek to mine and said "I love you, Dad" and scampered onto the bus. I need a new monitor. This one is blurry.

Friday, June 06, 2003

You know, it's hard to support those pesky Iraqis. After Belgium joined Germany and France in the Axis of Weasels, supporing Iraq in the face of war, an Iraqi sent letters to the Prime Minister containing nerve gas agents. It was sort of "thanks for your support, now die!" If this is what they do to their friends, what would they do to their enemies if they had the chance. Thanks, President Bush, for not giving them the chance.
The French Open treatment of Serena Williams is must more evidence of how vile the French are. They are certainly anti-American. She and her sister should have boycotted the tournament, but, having come, the French should have indulged themselves in some form of sportsmanship. Even her opponent admitted it was extreme. Cheering missed first serves, cheering when the umpire clearly missed a call, these are all the stuff you expect from low lifes, not supposed sophisticated tennis fans. I've heard tourism is down in France. If it were up to me, no one from here would go. And, I wouldn't extend the olive branch as much as Bush has done. If you want to be our opponent, then so be it. Let the games begin.
Two editors at the New York Times resigned. Maybe the paper will learn that even a big institution can fall if it succumbs to dishonesty. I believe the paper has also lost the vision of what it is. Rather than being "the paper of record", always reporting the story with the greatest depth, it has become the political voice of liberalism, especially New York City liberalism. A newspaper cannot be great if its news is slanted. It's editorials may take whatever slant the editors desire, but no one trusts a paper for long if it slants its news. We see this a lot at CNN and other outlets to. Many times it's subtle, like adding the words "so called" before a noun, if the story is about the other side. The Star Telegram prints stories like this. For example, reporting on abortion, they will use the phrase "so called" counseling. Even the Star Telegram did not run any stories from the NYT today, they were mostly from the Washington Post and from the Boston Globe. Most of the ST's front page section stories are wire services, such as AP, but they have leaned heavily on NYT stories also. I think we now need a national day of integrity, where everyone pledges to live the next year in integrity and honesty. Wouldn't it be great if big outfits like the NYT lead in that. Or if big accounting firms would be know for reporting and curing dishonesty, not helping their clients cover it up. And if politicians would claim the high moral ground. (Sorry for the pause here, I choked on my coffee after I wrote that one). Otherwise, we are on our way to becoming Nigeria.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

The Baby went to church camp today. I took the morning off to take her to catch the bus at church. She huddled with her friends, then came back. She gave me a brilliant smile and a fierce hug, then scampered away. My throat tightened and my eyes burned. And in the background, I heard the ever present sound of the clock ticking.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Leonard Pitts on the Chicago Hazing incident: "But evidence of our failure to teach the children is found not just in the crime, but in the apparaent unwillingness of some students to shoulder responsibility for it." For example, one of the mothers, trying to get her daughter out of trouble, said the attack was something that just got out of hand. Isn't it interesting how we slip into the passive tense to avoid blame? She did not say her daughter got out of hand, but that the incident did, as if the incident was a living being. Sorry, ma'am, but your daughter acted badly and should be punished. She should be punished severely enough to make her not ever consider doing this again. I'm trying to picture the horror on my parents face when someone tells them I poured feces on my schoolmates. I wonder what military school they would have sent me to. Pitts is right. Parents need to model responsibility and teach it. When you mess up, you must take your lumps. In contrast, you heard this from, of all things, a professional athlete, recently. Shaq missed the team meeting and said he would take his lumps for it, not try to justify it. I like that.

Even more than taking responsibility, parents must teach their kids right from wrong. They must model it. They must teach it. They must enforce it. This is not a new concept. It just got lost in the last few years. The fact is, for all the talk of tolerance, many people are mean on a personal level. Their kids see that and learn it. There is very little tolerance, kindness, or politeness practiced today. There is a lot of passive agressive behavior. I watched my neighbor, who would never have the nerve to stand up to a threatening person, berate and harass the grocery store clerk. I know a co-worker, meek and mild at work, who gets behind the wheel and becomes a hostile maniac.

Rather than try to get her kid out of trouble, I suggest the mother allow the daughter to take her lumps. Then, set aside one night a week for the rest of the time she is home before leaving for college, and on that night spend the evening teaching her values and practicing them. Or the next time you see her, she'll be rioting in the street after her team loses a basketball game, burning and looting and hurting people.
Georgetown University faculty is in an uproar over the words of their graduation speaker. It was a Catholic cardinal. Georgetown is a Catholic University. He stressed the importance of religion and family. The faculty found that divisive. One professor got up and walked off the stage in protest. Here is part of what he said: "Happiness is attained by achieving the purpose of our earthly existence. God made me to know him, to love him, to serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next. Saint Augustine found this out in his later age after making many mistakes in his youth. He then cried out to God: "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (St Aug. Conf. I, 1). My religion guides and helps me towards this. My Catholic faith puts me in contact with Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (cf Jn 14:6). God's grace helps me to live on earth in such a way as to attain the purpose of my earthly existence." You can see why the faculty is unhappy. No mention of humanism, homosexuality, or anti-American sentiment, no criticism of the church. The Cardinal was not from America. Maybe no one told him he was not supposed to act like he enjoyed being Catholic.
You have to love the Fort Worth Star Telegram, or Startlegram as we affectionately call it here in Cowtown. Yesterday, the top story on the front page was about a radio sportscaster moving from one radio station to a sister station. This was above the lead for the end of the Legislative session. It's just more evidence that media people have forgotten the real world is what they are supposed to report on. They have become the news as well as the news reporters.
Bill Clinton wants to be president again. He suggests repealing the term limit. Rumor is its much harder to find comely interns as an ex-president. Meanwhile, Hillary is on the stump. She is now telling of her hurt and anger when she found out Bill had lied to her about Monica. It's that old sad thong. Evidently, she believed all the other stories were just part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, including Gennifer Flowers in Playboy. Especially bad is that Monica is getting more tv time. Some think Hillary is playing the sympathy card to distance her self from Bill's immoral reputation so that, when she runs for President, the conservatives will not be able to hang the morality albatross on her.
The session is over for the Texas Legislature, and not a moment too soon. Now we have to sort through all the bills and see how much damage they have done. Many fear that the rush of last minute legislation will produce a pile of problems that will exist until they meet again. Good news for all you equestrians, the horse meat bill didn't make it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Some time back, I sent an e-mail to Colorado governor Bill Owens, commending him on his refusal to meet with the French General Consul while the French were opposing us in the U.N. Governor Owens was gracious enough to reply by e-mail. Here is his reply.

Dear L. Thompson:

Thank you for your recent note and for your support of my decision to refuse to meet with the French Consul General, who had sought a meeting with me at my office in Denver.

I declined the French Consul's request because, had I held a "business-as-usual" meeting, I would have condoned the excessive and over-the-top behavior of the French government in opposing America's efforts to liberate Iraq. I believe the French have taken this disagreement well beyond the level of a difference of opinion and have sought to orchestrate a campaign against America. Indeed, given my profound disagreement not only with the French position on Iraq but with the inappropriate way they have expressed that disagreement, having a meeting with a representative of the
French government would have been hypocritical.

As you know, this conduct is really nothing new for the French. It is reminiscent of the 1930s and 1940s when an American President and a British Prime Minister worked together to confront fascism while the French sought to negotiate with Hitler.

It is important at this time to stand behind our President and the great victory being won by our troops and send the strongest possible signal to France that we oppose their aggressive, anti-American efforts.

I enclose a copy of my letter to the French Consul for your reference.

Again, thanks for writing and for your support.


Bill Owens

I was impressed that a Governor would take the time to respond and explain his position. I agree with it, by the way, that the French have gone beyond disagreement to active opposition of U. S. policy. That is why I am on the French boycott. Anyway, the Governor is obviously a good man with a conscience and not to big to communicate with the little guy.
Croft Penz: If God writes opportunity on one side of th door, he writes responsibility on the other.
That Huffington woman must be right about the owners of SUVs being terrorists. In Michigan, a nude woman ran her SUV into an apartment complex, put it in reverse and backed into another one. She left the vehicle in the apartment and escaped on (bare) feet. She was probably from PETA and making a statement on animal rights by being nude. Or maybe someone in the complex was mistreating their cat. Or, maybe it was one of the Dixie Chicks, frustrated that their manager blocked the publication of their nude picture supporting PETA.

Speaking of problems up North, the state of Wisconsin is thinking of canceling their hotline to report guns in school. At a cost of $50,000 per year, they have received only 7 calls. Five of these have been pranks! At $50,000 per call, even your rabid anti-gun liberal has a problem justifying the program.

I think I found the largest misstatement of the day (outside the New York Times, of course). Rosaura Beristain was hit by a stool thrown out a sixth story window and ended up in the hospital. The hospital spokesman said "She was lucky." I've never considered myself lucky, but if this is lucky, I think I'll pass.

I haven't been able to get on Blogger for a while, so I have some pent up blogging to do. Here goes.

First, more good economic news. The stock market has posted gains for three straight months.

More ethics news. The SEC is seeking a suspension against major accounting firm Ernst & Young. The SEC wants to suspend EY from taking any new corporate clients for six months. This is the first time since 1975 that the SEC has sought this sanction. It alleges that EY violated rules designed to keep the firm independent from its clients. The SEC alleges that EY is likely to continue to violate the rules.

Fazal Karim has been prosecuted and convicted in federal court on charges resulting from his carrying 32 double edged razor blades in his carry on luggage. The blades were in a cardboard box inside a coiled belt. Predictable, Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations is charging racism. He said it is an ongoing concern that Muslims are singled out. He accuses authorities of ethnic profiling. Of course, singling out Muslims would be religious profiling, not ethnic profiling, but that is a fine point. And, many would claim that Muslims have singled themselves out by their actions, such as attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and, well, you know.

Mr. Hooper said "If that person had been a Norwegian businessman, he wouldn't be in the trouble Mr. Karim is in." I'm not sure that is true. If Mr. Norwegian tried to board a plane with dangerous materials and could not explain them, he would be detained. Surely, Mr. Hooper has heard the complaints of little, elderly white women being searched. But, again, my research fails to turn up a single incidence of Norwegian terrorism on American soil. Mr. Hooper seems to have a short memory to have the audacity to even make this claim.

There are some additional facts that Mr. Hooper fails to mention. First, Mr. Karim tried to disassociate himself from the bag. He put it through the x-ray machine at one spot, then went further down to go through the magnetometer. Not many Norwegians do this, I'm told. Most of us, including Norwegians, go through immediately adjacent to our bag so no one will steal it (and so no one will think we are suspicious and should be searched, thereby wasting a lot of our time even if we aren't terrorists). Additionally, Mr. Karim had no razor in his bag to use the blades with. Finally, Mr. Karim told 3 different stories about why he had the blades. First he said he needed them to shave his beard. Then he said they were for a friend. Finally he said he did not have any blades. It's kind of like the old Racehorse Haynes defense: my dog didn't bite you and in fact I don't even have a dog. Interestingly, Mr. Karim did not use racial profiling in his defense.

It also turns out that Mr. Karim lied about his status in the country. He said he was visiting friends in Houston for a few weeks, but it turns out he has been living in Houston for three years and has businesses there. So, you have to ask yourself, Mr. Hooper, if Mr. Karim is innocent and had no ill designs, why did he not just tell the truth? Here is my unsolicited advice, Mr. H. Save your defense for a guy that at least looks honest. You know, tells the truth, obeys the law, and cooperates. You know there are many law abiding Muslims out there. If they get a bad deal, defend them. But, let the liars, cheats, terrorists, and miscreants fend for themselves. Your credibility will increase, and when you speak, people will listen. But most people know that there has been great restraint exercised with regard to Muslims. There have been those who have acted wrongly toward Muslims. But, the President has urged restraint and most people have complied. You should exercise some restraint also.