September 26, 2004

New Blogs

I've come across a couple of new Ortho-blogs recently and added them to the links.

Justin's Torrent of Consciousness has been around about as long as these Diversions, but somehow I just now found it, thatnks to his comments in one of the entries below.

Philippa's Lost in-Elegant Cogitations is a brand new blog.

Posted by david at 04:53 AM | Comments (1)

September 25, 2004

Fighting for Both Sides in the War of Drugs

The Department of Health has funded a booklet advising clubbers how to take drugs for maximum effect, whilst leaving no evidence for the police. If you think that is unbelievable, then your incredulity with be stretched to the limits when I tell you it was produced by a organisation which includes the police and the courts.

Coventry Community Safety Partnership, using 10,000 of DoH money produced 5,000 copies of Safe2Dance. That's right each booklet cost 2 of taxpayer money. It advises readers to take ketamine on an empty stomach to get the best results. It also encourages snort cocaine off of ceramic tiles and mirrors, as this leaves the least evidence.

Fortunately someone with half a brain in Coventry (apparently a demographic group that is underpopulated) saw the booklet and prompted an inquiry. This led to it being withdrawn before it could be distributed. So 10,000 was tossed into the bin. I have to wonder why an inquiry was necessary and how much that cost.

Posted by david at 11:30 PM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2004

Sorry, Mate...

An Algerian national was released from prison today. He had never been charged with anything. He was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act so he didn't have to be chrged with anything. All that was required was for MI5 to suggest he might be connected in some way with terrorism. They couldn't come up with any evidence, so David Blunkett ordered that he be let go.

After three years. That's right, "D" sat in a maximum security prison, probably in solitary confinement for three years.

"D" is probably a supporter of terrorism. He was jailed in France for being a supporter of a banned organisation, Groupe Islamique Armee. But it shouldn't take three years to decide whether there is evidence that he has violated UK law. Ideally there should be some sort of evidence before arrest, but the Government has given up that principle long ago.

It is an understatement to say that "D" is not a happy camper. If he wasn't already a terrorist, I would think the Government has given him plenty of motivation to become one.

Posted by david at 11:48 PM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2004

Robbed Blind

David Blunkett is at it once again. Without bothering to consult his parliamentary colleagues, he has just re-written one of the most fundamental principles of the law. It is no longer a crime to steal.

Effective next week, stealing goods of up to 200 in value from a shop will not incur criminal charges or even a caution from the police. It will not result in a criminal record.

It will only result in an 80 pound fixed penalty notice called a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND). It will be like getting an expensive parking ticket - unless you live in London, where parking tickets go for up to 100. And who says crime doesn't pay. 200 in goods - 80 fine - you do the math. Given that 70% of shoplifting is done to support drug habits, the new measures will ease the burden on treatment programmes. Courts could direct offenders into rehab, but now there will be no such external guidance.

However, on the other side of the equation, nicking a 30p bar of chocolate will also result in an 80 fine. However, it will not be enforced against the primary schoolboy of 10 years old, but rather against his parents. That's right, the minimum age for incurring the fine will be 10.

It's not only shoplifting that is being added to the list of PNDs. Criminal damage will no longer by criminal as long as it doesn't exceed 500 in value and various underage drinking offences will apparently become underage drinking disorders.

The main result for the Government will be a nice drop in the crime statistics. Crime will be falling because fewer things are against the law. Behaviour won't have changed. The lives of the law-abiding public will not be improved in quality. If anything, behaviour will continue to decline and will have more of an incentive to do so and the quality of life in this country - already plagued by a culture of thievery and thuggery - will continue to ebb.

I don't know if David Blunkett just can't see what's happening or just doesn't care.

Posted by david at 06:50 PM | Comments (2)

September 17, 2004

Government Sealed (but only at the ears)

On Monday, Batman climbed up to the royal balconey on the front of Buckingham Palace, though Robin got nicked by the coppers and the Batmobile was clamped.

On Wednesday, farmers snuck through the labyrinth of corridors in the Palace of Westminster and rushed onto the floor of the House of Commons, physically confronting Government ministers, until they were tackled by old men wearing dinner jackets and swords.

Yesterday, while outraged minsters, shadow numbers, and backbenchers talked to themselves and the press about the need to tighten things up, a reporter for The Sun planted a fake bomb - plasticene, wires, and all - right under them.

It seems that no matter how hard they try, it is impossible to hermetically seal everything. The world can't be made 100% safe. Of course in these cases there was no real danger. The only thing to fear was the publicity.

If these Fathers 4 Justice keep buying superhero costumes and pulling superhero stunts, somebody might actually listen to their message and make sure that for broken families equality in parenting is the norm. The only problem is that now terrorists will know that all they need to do to avoid being shot while in a high-security trespass is to dress up.

And I don't blame the pro-hunt lobby for storming the House of Commons. For some of the urbanite Labour ministers it may be the first time they have seen someone from the countryside face-to-face. They ought to be glad that they didn't have to actually get their shoes dirty in the soil of the land they govern.

Given the ease with which they could have done something more violent, as demonstrated by The Sun, the Government should be glad that majority, for whom they have no regard, are as docile as they are. The protests both inside and outside the House didn't sway a single vote. If anything, it made the anti-hunt MPs more adamant. They will use the Parliament Act to override the House of Lords to save a few foxes and decimate the rural economy. With the exception of Ann Widdecombe, the same MPs will work just as hard to kill thousands babies for convenience, while creating others out of clones for spare body parts.

It is a mad world. Not even a super hero can fix it.

Posted by david at 08:58 PM | Comments (1)

September 16, 2004

Why I Like John Kerry

I think it is good to have a candidate for President of the US like John Kerry.

Like Bush or hate him, and he has done some things with which I strongly disagree, like the Dept of Homeland Security and the Patriot Acts I and II, this election is about so much more. There are certainly two flawed candidates. The difference is that one is attempting to be godly and is sometimes misguided, whilst the other is effortlessly ungodly and also misguided.

So I'm glad Kerry is the candidate. That way those who vote for him know they are chosing darkness rather than light. They have marked the box (or punched the chad, if they are in Florida) for unrighteousness. Election day is not a matter of chosing that day who will become President. You aren't really chosing who will serve. You are chosing who you will serve.

Posted by david at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

Growing Up (or at least Sitting Up)

Continuing in her trend as a prodigy, Abigail sat up on her own today. According to Mrs H and all her books, this is suppose to happen around seven months. Abby turned four months on Saturday. She is 18 weeks old today. Aidan was advanced in these things and he only sat upright without support at 22 weeks.

Needless to say, Mummy was very excited about this when I got home form work this evening.

Posted by david at 11:13 PM | Comments (2)

The Blaine Truth about the End of the World

It just sort crept up on me. Like a foolish virgin, I've been caught totally unaware. The end is here. Thankfully I have been informed by email just in time. I hope you will all thank me that I've passed this on to you:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
Dear fathers and brothers in the Christ, bless me!
Lord ours Jesus Christ has opened the person of the antichrist.
It is american wizard David Blaine, which was born in 1973.
Per 30 years, after the ending of the false post in October 19, 2003
he began service as a false messias of Judah. In 2006 he will be anointed
in the king of all world. Before it will be, in November - December,
2004 should begin the Third World War and the global disasters.
In detail about it is spoken in the book: "Antichrist has come to preach! ",
which is published in the Internet on the Russian language, to the address:
http: // www.rusichi.net/antihrist.htm, and
http: // vremia-pokaiania.narod.ru
Lord waits for repentance from the people.
Excuse me, a sinful the slave of God is Oleg.

Yes, that's right. Who would have thought that a man who lived in a perspex box over the River Thames for 44 days would become the Beast? I can't read Russian, so I don't know if David Copperfield is his buddy the False Prophet.

Posted by david at 10:43 PM | Comments (2)

September 13, 2004

Orthodoxy from the BBC

I'm not sure what has motivated it, but BBC News has a postive article on Orthodoxy in Alaska.

Posted by david at 11:22 PM | Comments (7)

September 12, 2004

Memory Eternal

I learned yesterday of the passing from this life of my first cousin Doug.

Being 20 years apart in age, we weren't particularly close when I was growing up. Being a nerd, I admired his academic achievement with a degree in nuclear physics from Cal Tech and a law degree from Harvard.

We really only got to know each other as I got older, at the occasional family reunion. Once, early in my own legal career, he came to Indiana to do a deposition for a case and I tagged along as local counsel. It also helped that I knew the location of the tiny town in southern Indiana where he need to go and could drive him there. I was glad it was a long drive, because it gave us time to talk.

Sadly, over the last few years, his mind was robbed of its brilliance through dementia and his body started losing to ALS. Though he was only 60, at least a merciful God released him from suffering.

May his memory be eternal!

Posted by david at 02:33 AM | Comments (2)

September 11, 2004

How We Lost the War on Terrorism

I haven't ventured out into the blogosphere yet today, so I don't know what everyone else is saying. I'm sure that there are a significant number of 9/11 anniversary posts. But without checking to see if I'm simply repeating what everyone else is saying, I'll offer the following:

It's not often I even pay attention to the headline of the Independent. I like to think that it is called that because it is independent of any clear thinking and common sense. I had to agree with the big print across the top of the today, "We should not have allowed 19 murderers to change our world". The underlying article by Robert Fisk was a load of bollocks about George Bush and Iraq, but the headline was right.

The murderers of September 11, 2001 may not have achieved all they set out to do, but the world is a different place. If we live in constant fear, terrorism has won. They don't have to blow up a building or and airplane every day. They just have to make you think they might.

These 19 Islamists who have traded the fires of exploding planes for the fires of perdition ("hey, where's the 72 virgins?!") mananged to cost the taxpayers of the United States about $105 billion just for the Department of Homeland Security through 2005. Now you could argue that the exisiting 22 components of the federal bureaucracy that were absorbed in the DHS were already going to cost $78 billion over 2003-2005, so the hijackers only added $27 billion.

By my estimation, that's $1.42 billion per hijacker. Not bad for a day's work, or even the two or three years that went into planning the murders. And this doesn't count the costs that aren't a part of the DHS budget.

There's the whole issues of compensation. Before the December 22, 2003 deadline, there were 7,402 claims related to deceased persons which had been submitted to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Out of these, 5,558 resulted in award letters. The average award was $2,081,348. By my calculations that is a total of $11,568,132,184. That's $11.568 billion, for those of you who need to see the numbers in an easier to read format.

If we add this to the cost of running the DHS for 3 years, that's $2.03 billion per deluded Wahabi.

In addition to this, there are 2,679 claims for personal injury. The personal injury awards "have ranged from a low of $500 to a high of over $8.6 million after offsets." I can find no published data giving the total amount of personal injury awards to date.

I haven't even touched upon the loss of buildings, jobs, goods, and services. According to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, the tangible losses are about $100 billion. That's $5.26 billion for each satanically inspired Infidel.

But it doesn't stop there. The DHS budget is scheduled to increase by about $5 billion per year. It won't stop until it finally creates the Nation in a Bubble, able to filter out all contaminants and deadly attacks. The DHS and the US Goverment are as deluded as their nemeses if they think they can hermetically seal the borders with universal biometric passports and life will revert back to Pleasantville.

Welcome to the rest of the world, America. In Britain, the threat of terrorism has been around for ages, thanks to idiots who are still fighting the Battle of the Boyne. Thankfully that threat is, if not in the past, at least on the back burner. We now also face the open threat of Islamist attacks. The difference is that at least the Irish rang ahead of time and they didn't rape young girls as happened in the school in Beslan.

If there is such a thing as honourable terrorism, it cannot be attributed the people we are dealing with now. Somehow they think that by preying on the weakest, most vunerable members of society, they can force us to accede to their demand of submission to a false god. "I know what we need to do, guys! Let's find some little children to torture and murder! Then the world will convert to Islam!"

But as absolutely vile as these people are, we cannot let them run our lives, either individually or as nations. We have to show no fear. We can't worry about their threat to replace every "martyr" with 1,000 more. That just means 1,000 more bullets will have to be manufactured. Terrorists creating jobs - that's what I like to see.

And I don't give a pile of burning camel dung about how it is our fault that they are like they are. Stop your bloody whinging and stop importing Coca Cola. If the people in your country are becoming westernised and not following your little fringe view of Islam maybe you need to look at your methods of evangelism, Osama.

Believe it or not, absent these unstable types (look at the shoe bomber Richard Reed, if you can't figure why I called them unstable), mostly jobless young men with nothing else to do but listen to radical clerics, Muslims and Christians have gotten along peacefully for centuries. That's not to say that the religions are compatable, but rather that the people just get on with life. Even in Muslim governments, from the Ottoman Empire of the 18th century to the Ba'athist regimes of the 21st, Christians have held places of prominence and power.

Yes, there needs to be a war on terror and it shouldn't result in a siege mentality. It does not need to be a war on Islam. The only sword which you should put to your Muslim neighbours is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And if you are worried about their values permeating your country, just remember that if you want to see Christian values as the basis of government social policy, you will find more in common with your Muslim neighbours than with the secularist who may look more like you in an epidermal sense.

Posted by david at 07:12 PM | Comments (3)

September 10, 2004

As Requested

I have created a page of photos from Abby's baptism.

Posted by david at 11:43 PM | Comments (4)

September 09, 2004

Exhausted

I have said I won't be blogging much about my job, but I have to say something to explain my absence over the last few days. The first week has been exhausting.

Because the school is so big - 14 acres - and I have to go up and down a lot of stairs, each day is quite a physical workout. It is taking its toll on my leg and I am having to devise strategies make my life easier. The school where I did most of my training was tiny in comparison.

The collective behaviour of certain classes is quite challenging as well. That's all I'll say.

I am glad to have a lot of very helpful colleagues.

And I'm look forward to the weekend, so I can spend the whole time planning next week's lessons...

Posted by david at 10:58 PM | Comments (2)

September 05, 2004

Red Ketchup and Blue Air

Though it won't be of interest to my well-intentioned but ill-advised readers who are supporting Michael Peroutka nor my readers who are supporting John Kerry but are really holding out for the re-election of Hillary Clinton in 2008, the rest of you might be interested in the latest condiment for your table, W. Ketchup.

The "W" is of course George Washington, whose image appears on the front and back labels. It doesn't fund the Republican presidential candidate in any way - rather it contributes to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, "which provides scholarships for the children of active duty service members killed in the line of duty." What it also doesn't do is put money into the coffers of the Heinz corporation or any of the left-wing beneficiaries of its charitable trusts, such as John Kerry.

I found the Comments section of the website most entertaining. Being non-partisan, they include views from across the political spectrum. Those who dislike the product idea (since they have never and make it clear will never actually try it) demonstrate why blue is the colour associated with the Democrats. It is the colour of the air around them. As the foulest mouthed prospective First Couple in a long time, the Heinz-Kerrys should feel right at home with their fellow partisans. Even though the site/product owners have substituted various non-alphanumeric characters so that the site can get through profanity filters, the messages are clear.

From this I think we can also predict that if John Kerry is elected, he will bring back to the White House the quality and caliber of staff which left with Bill Clinton, taking furniture, presidential seals, and office supplies with them, after removing all the "W" keys from the keyboards, and leaving obscene graffiti and phone greetings.

Posted by david at 01:55 PM | Comments (1)

September 04, 2004

Another Milestone

Through the exercise of her extraordinary willpower, Mrs H has managed to stay married to me for five whole years!

I suppose I should come up with some way of showing my appreciation for her efforts.

Posted by david at 03:34 AM | Comments (4)

If It Weren't For Bad Luck...

It seems the Russians have managed to bungle another hostage crisis, resulting in massive deaths. There were at least 117 hostage deaths a Moscow theatre in 2002. That's the official toll and I don't know about you, but communism or not, I don't trust Russian officialdom. In that instance, it appears that almost all the deaths were caused by the secret anesthetic gas used. In other words, the Russian goverment did a much more efficient job of killing the hostages than the terrorist could have.

It is still unclear how the massive death toll in Beslan has transpired. How many were killed in the initial explosion that seems to precipitated the storming of the school? How many were quickly killed by terrorists as their position started to crumble? How many were killed in crossfire?

Again, knowing the Russians, we will probably never know. It does seem that the Russians have a special knack for maximising civilian casualities.

Nonetheless, pray for those who have lost their lives that they might be found in the peace of Christ. Memory eternal ! And pray for those left behind who will be grieving that they might find the peace of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.

Posted by david at 03:19 AM | Comments (1)

September 03, 2004

Baptised

Though it took a long time to get a date when sufficient numbers and talents of our parish could be assembled, finally Abigail is baptised.

May God grant her many years!

Posted by david at 11:07 PM | Comments (3)

September 02, 2004

Losing My Profession

I'm beginning to realise that I'm not a lawyer anymore. Tonight I was following a blog trail, starting at a comment link on Not for Sheep, or as it is currently known, Legislating Gremlins. I went from lawyer blog to lawyer blog (or occasionally law student blog) and was amazed at just how uninteresting I found the law-related bits to be.

I have no doubt I could still find my way around an American court room. I'm sure I could even negotiate a plea bargain here and split up a family there. I could probably even present the evidence on behalf of some slum lord to show why his tenants, who've managed to make his hovel even more delapidated, should be put out onto the street. The thing is, I don't want to.

With three years of law school, the bar exam, all those pieces of parchment rolled up in tubes, and one-sixth of my life scratching out an existence from it all, I can't escape it entirely. It has made me part of who I am. And I'm sure there are things I've done as a lawyer that I'm proud of - I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I'm sure there's something.

It's been fourteen years since I sat through my first week of Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, etc. Coincidentally, fourteen of the professors who were teaching when I was there are now emeriti, including some who didn't seem that old at the time. The scary thing is that some who did are still teaching.

When I entered law school, I had visions of a small town law practice in Kentucky and a seat in the state legislature. Never in a million years did I think that I would instead be teaching school half-way around the world. Half my students weren't even born then.

Posted by david at 11:17 PM | Comments (3)

September 01, 2004

Submission

Orthodoxy is a lot like Islam.

Okay, now that the oxygen has returned to the room after the collective gasp, let me explain.

I should say the Church is a lot like Islam. The meaning and goal of Islam is islam - submission to the will of Allah. The goal of Christians should be submission to the will of Allah. "Allah", after all, is simply the Arabic word for God, and there have been Arab Christians long, long before there were Arab Muslims.

The Orthodox Church simply says, "Here is the truth - here is the will of God as revealed by God through the Holy Apostles - take it or leave it." Setting aside all the cultural baggage, that is why a lot of Christians have difficultly becoming Orthodox. I lurk on the Evangelical-Orthodox dialogue Yahoo Group and I see the same approach in the Evangelicals that I had before I made the jump from Ortho-wannabe to Ortho-gonnabe (the point at which chrismation foregone conclusion and just a logistical hurdle to overcome). I had lots of theology and lots of sophisticated arguments.

I didn't realise that I was cutting my knife through soft butter. Think about - it is easy to perceive effectiveness because the butter offers no resistance. But after the knife has passed through, the butter is still whole and you'd never know the knife had ever passed though it.

Doug and Karl both blogged about an article by Dr Jack Kinneer, an Orthodox Presbyterian minister who did some sort of diploma course at St Vlad's. Kinneer explained why as a Calvinist he could not become Orthodox. He detailed some of the "shortcomings" of Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, the thing he missed was the Church. He assumed the validity of his Reformed theology and tried to weigh the Church up against it, or at least those bits of the Church that he tried to shave off and put onto the scale.

Like Islam, the Orthodoxy used to be a missionary religion. Now, unlike Islam, for the most part it just waits for stray Protestants who've put away their plastic theological swords or Catholics who prefer its position on divorce to join. Protestants are, for the most part, ineffective versus Islam because Muslims aren't impressed with all their theological banter. American evangelicalism just doesn't compute.

Muslim under stand submission to the will of Allah, they just don't understand that Allah does in fact have a Son and that submission to the Son is submission to Allah:

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Posted by david at 01:05 AM | Comments (4)