Friday, June 29, 2007

America's mayor on money and the Fred factor

"All spending is discretionary. Read the Constitution. Congress has to appropriate it; the President has to sign it. All spending is discretionary and it has to be looked at from the point of view of, can we afford it now? Is it appropriate to pass it on to the next generation?"
-Rudy Giuliani

I'm impressed.

I guess it's time to start the endless commenting on next year's presidential election cycle. Sorry to disappoint you by breaking my silence.

Frankly, it's Rudy or Fred.

Rudy: A proven leader who, although without a social conservative resume, still seems to understand that when it comes down to it, his job isn't to change things. He seems to understand federalism. That is key. A proven executive record on fiscal discipline, innovation, and civil security with a statesman image. He's got a gameness about him that would serve him well--not someone who will be led by prevailing winds; that's the essence of conservatism isn't it?

Fred: Well, there's just the problem of not knowing. He has a lot to prove. I think his comparative lack of political credentials shouldn't hurt him as long as he can prove himself to be fit for an executive position--which he strikes me as being more apt to be. There is a reason we don't see members of congress in the White House very often, if ever. In our day and age, congress is one of the worst training grounds for the presidency. As many commentators have noted, Thompson represents potential for greatness--he has to prove himself.

Personally, I'd like to see both of these men on the GOP ticket. Not sure what order yet.

And hey, they both have great names!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Learning the ropes

8:38 AM (in office IM)
Me: Anything I should start on?
Editor: I'll see here. This is the crunch of Tuesday. Maybe it's mostly watching. I'll see.

I wondered, upon leaving yesterday, what I would be doing today. Maybe I should have just waited to finish one of the two I had for this issue. No, I'd rather not. Watching might not be a bad idea. I like watching production--it's not quite as exciting as doing production but what can I say? If I don't know the ropes here, then I don't know the ropes.

I could start on my weekly reports to the J department at Western. There. That will do just fine.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Patched up

I don't know. Maybe I'm old. Things just don't heal like they used to.

I think then that I'm happy I'll be a little more out of the line of fire in the coming months--with more time spent before a desk then the saws and hammers that have been my lot and bane in the past couple years.

A bruise or tear somewhere in the ball of my left foot...
Eyes that are rebelling against too much contact contact...
A finger that is freshly mangled, with purple threatenings under the nail...
A knee in a constant bruised state for the last two months

Questions of leisure are bitterly mitigated by these injuries. How well will my finger and knee survive volleyball tonight? How well would my foot survive a hike up goat mountain all day Saturday?...

Tomorrow I start my Tribune internship. I say this to warn you not pick it up for a couple months...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Becoming the problem

Three guardsmen on the southern border have been arrested in connection with an illegal alian smuggling ring near Laredo, Texas.
Pfc. Jose Rodrigo Torres, 26, and Sgt. Julio Cesar Pacheco, 25, both of Laredo, and Sgt. Clarence Hodge Jr., 36, of Fort Worth, were arrested near Laredo.

A Border Patrol agent found 24 illegal immigrants inside a van Torres was driving along Interstate 35 near Cotulla, Texas, about 68 miles north of the border, prosecutors said. Torres was in uniform at the time of his arrest Thursday.

The van was leased by the National Guard, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
I have only one opinion regarding these guys if they are guilty: that they need to be made into examples (real examples). That's not going to happen in a civilian court. The Texas National Guard is still determining whether they will press their own charges. I say go for it! The more the better and especially from a court of military justice.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Big Basin - the entourage

Big and little...


Aunty Anna, and Timothy...

What they see...

Don't know what Justus is doing with his hands...

Timothy, Justus, and Mary...

Tree Tim...

Justus hangin out...


Anna and I for our tree shot...

I don't see him; do you?

Family portrait

Playing "Pooh Sticks" on a bridge... (nice pic Joel!)


Date: Good Friday 2007
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Occasion: Foolish looking stumble at the end of a footrace on blacktop

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Churches - Introduction and Part 1: ERPC


I've decided to post on a subject that I normally would keep somewhat private. The only reason I'm doing this is because these particular details are common knowledge and having them stated plainly for all who might be interested can't help but increase understanding where desired. There may be some difficulty in making sure I don't run ahead too far into matters which are best discussed with those directly concerned and likewise there are also matters of concern to me that I think have a more general bearing for all of us.

Our local church is going through a period of independence--we have left the Orthodox Christian Reformed Churches for reasons which amount in my estimation to be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the difficulties that federation faces. Our consistory, along with another former OCRC are in the process of considering other denominational options. After meeting together and initial study, they decided to consider four possibilities (see respective links):

Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church
Reformed Church in the United States
United Reformed Church / (alternate link)
Free Reformed Church

I do wish I had started researching these options a lot sooner. As it is, I feel like there's a lot of catch up. First of all, it must be said that this is a pretty broad playing field. I'm going to try to use the blog a platform for bringing the specific church distinctives to light as I research them.

Part 1: Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church (ERPC)

The first two options, which are being currently considered together, are both presbyterian in form and therefore might seem more jarring to some members of my church. Personally, I tend to lean that way anyway so that isn't the hangup for me.

My main concern is that the ERPC is a self-proclaimed split-off from the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) AND OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church). They claim that the OPC has become unfaithful to the "authentic" Gospel which is almost too much for me to even consider seriously. I understand why our church wouldn't be willing to join the OPC but it's quite another thing to join a group of ministers (which is what they are still) that makes such a sweeping claim.

I know I'm quite open to accusations of bias in the matter considering I have two close brothers-in-law who are OPC minsters (full disclosure: I write this from one's house and personal computer). But really, how can I not laugh when I have read the OPC Report on Justification. Somehow the ERPC still claims the OPC supports Federal Vision and New Perspective on Paul and men like Norman Shepherd and other innovators of our time.

One of the works listed on the ERPC site is by one of their own, Paul M. Elliott, in a book which supposedly condemns the OPC report on Justification. I haven't had the pleasure of reading this work at this point, nonetheless, I found this post on from a supporter of Elliott and he alludes to an OPC "cover-up"! The comments on the post are worth reading because the poster has no reasoned response to them.

I must leave it at that for the moment. I'll either continue with the ERPC or move on as I see fit later. Cheers!


Time (reprise)

Is it strange to have aging and the drumbeat of time constantly on my mind the last few days--I mean, to the extent that I start comparing metaphors for old age in my head as if I were trying to write my autobiography already: a worn-out tennis shoe, a threadbare couch...? I don't know why but memory loss and gray hair never felt so close.

This quote and the context thereof is found in this post from last January. You will have to forgive me if, having advanced only one birthday since then, I am now indulging in such introspections again at the ripe old age of twenty-three. Still, it has been interesting to trace the above thoughts and the resulting actions from then to here. It has also been interesting to build on those thoughts for the sake of the thoughts themselves. The fact is, I'd rather be always aware of my place in the larger scheme--to understand more intimately the fact that I am a mere breath away from age and eternity.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to stop and sit a while with my 87-year-old grandpa. I noticed that he was particularly perturbed by his immediate situation. He was a prisoner of his chair--he couldn't get up; of his thoughts--for he was keenly aware of his helplessness; of his mind--for he couldn't manage to bring any kind of order to the meaning of things around him. I sat in on his frustration as he struggled with what to do with himself. I asked him how long he had been sitting there at the table and I don't think he really knew. For the next 15 minutes I just sat there, mentioning names and places and churches he had preached at. He confessed that most of the immediate past with regard to his ministry was hazy and run-together. He seemed to accept this, knowing that he had loved and served many flocks and was loved in return.

He could remember more from his earlier life however. He asked me if I remembered a certain woman from his congregation in San Jose. Naturally I didn't recognize the name, and he admitted it was probably "long before your time."

But here Grandpa displayed a keen bit of insight and wisdom regarding his situation. He remembered consoling this elderly woman who was bedridden and fraught with memory-loss and all sorts of ailments.

"I know what you are going through...I understand," he said with all the pastorly compassion he could muster.

"Oh no you don't!" came the stern, but honest rebuke.

"I do now..." was Grandpa's good humored reply, fifty some-odd years later.

I pondered this and it struck me more deeply than it ever had before. I thought forward to the future, as I have done before. Should God spare me as long as my grandpa, will it be a comfort to remember how he handled his weakness? I don't know anyone else who has retained so much dignity in the later years of their life as he. And yet it isn't in this that he finds comfort--else it would not be true dignity. The fear of man brings a snare to the old as well as the young. Looking at him I see someone who counts the splendor of youth as a loss worthy of all that is beautiful in old age.
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory if it is found in the way of righteousness.
-Proverbs 16:31

Monday, June 04, 2007

The sultry south

I still have yet to reach a part of California in recent years that is hotter by any significant amount than my home-state (at least in the summer). So here I am in Salinas and it is just kind of average between the over-cast and random stretches of sunshine. With temperatures hovering between 60-70, how is this any different than what I left at home?

Today's schedule (for those who love to be jealous):

Now - noon: work on downloading laptop drivers / preliminary work on internship prep

1 - sometime later in the evening: hang out in Carmel on the beach with Anna (when she's off work) and maybe the Czerwiaks.

later? dunno--it's better that way