Archive for May 2009

New Hair Styles

May 31, 2009

Mac’s first buzz cut.


Omi’s “pig pony tails.”


This is the first time she’s had more hair than her brother.

I Thought I Was Cool Because I Can Sort Of Do A Track Stand

May 31, 2009

This is unreal.

Louisiana College President Calls For Jihad

May 28, 2009

After fellow OBU alum Mike Huckabee made a fool of himself by calling SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor “Maria,” I was pretty embarrassed for my university. Then CenLamar posted this absolutely insane rant from Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard, and suddenly I feel much better.

I mean, this thing is such a stunningly ignorant and deceptive collection of wingut bogeymen and cliches that it would be ridiculous even if it was a letter to the paper with a return address from Brentwood. If that was the case I’d chuckle and move on. But the author is the president of a university.

Let’s start with the call for jihad:

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Now, as Christian warriors, we have a choice.  Will we stand and fight to protect the field that God has given us or run like the frightened band of men who abandoned Shammah?

Then he repeatedly asks “will you stand and fight” while promising to do so even if it means imprisonment.

I understand the Christian soldier metaphor has a long history and origins in the New Testament. I also know it has frequently gone beyond metaphor, both institutionally and individually. My concern here is – as one commentor pointed out in the CenLamar post – what do you suppose the reaction would be if a local imam used language like this? It ought to be the same for Joe Aguillard. Violence in support of religion is wrong no matter what God might be justifying the violence. How ’bout we not encourage it?

But even if war for Jesus is generally acceptable, Aguillard must use the same intelligence agencies as the previous presidential administration prior to the Iraq War, because his grounds for this war are similarly manufactured.

His first complaint:

The enemy is attacking the Christian’s territory and he is doing so at an exponential pace.

The murder of our unborn is occurring at a rate of 21 babies per second!

The President of the United States is carrying the banner to continue these murders at an even faster pace and to also use our tax dollars to expand the murder overseas.

If we use Biblical truth to define our president and those in Congress as murderers – and that is what they are, murderers – as those who have perpetuated this murderous plot, will they imprison us?

That threat will not silence us!  Will you stand and fight?

I’m pro-life. Not in the sense that I think pro-choicers are murderers; I’m don’t think a fetus is a human. I do think abortion is immoral, though. Still, I’m not slamming him for the over-the-top rhetoric. If you think a fetus is a human, then abortion is murder.

But while I’m pro-life, I’m also pro-truth, and unless you think birth control is a type of abortion, there is no way there are 21 abortions per second in this country. Do the math, that equals 662,256,000 abortions per year. Does that sound even remotely possible? The population of the U.S. isn’t even half that. In fact, even hard core pro-lifers put the number at less than 1.5 million. That’s a lot. Too many. But it works out to .05 per second, not 21 per second. Aguillard – a man whose job is to educate – is willfully spreading ridiculous lies. All it would take is one moment’s critical thought to see how stupid this statement was.

His second complaint:

The enemy is attacking the Christian’s territory by convincing our nation that marriage is really not a sacred bond between a man, a woman and God.  Rather, we are told that it is a choice between persons of the same or the opposite sex.  Both choices, many maintain, are to be viewed as legitimate. . . .

Encouraged by the President, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a Hate Crimes Bill that could make it illegal for Christians to declare that what the Word of Almighty God says about the practice of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

If the aforementioned legislation ultimately becomes law, many believe that a Christian could be thrown in jail for proclaiming God’s law. Well, consider me and our faculty at LC ready for jail, for we will not bow to the lies of satan.

Some people might believe that, but no reasonable people believe that. The only thing the hate crimes bill punishes is actions. It would increase the penalties for actions based on the criminal’s motivations, but all it punishes are actions. So unless Aguillard plans on capping his next anti-gay sermon by physically injuring a gay person, he has nothing to worry about. This is pure demagoguery.

His third complaint:

Our forefathers would not recognize our court system today.  The first Supreme Court Justice, John Jay said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

O.K., great, John Jay thought we ought to elect Christians to public office. In fact, that’s what we usually do. But you know what? The Constitution – the fundamental law of the land, the document that created the United States – specifically and explicitly rejects John Jay’s hope:

no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Whatever may  have happened throughout history, the founders intentionally created a country in which people of any or no religion could serve in public office. If having non-Christians in public office makes Aguillard mad, his gripe is with the Constitution and its authors.

So Aguillard’s grounds for Jihad are questionable, at best. More fundamentally, though, is a major problem with what he wants to defend: Christian America. His words:

Our President recently declared, “America is not a Christian nation!”  While we are certainly not acting like a Christian nation, to deny our Christian roots and affirm universalism is a sin against God and our nation will reap the consequences of that position. Will you stand and fight?

I’ve expressed my belief in prior posts that however many Christians there are in this country, our nation is and always has been legally secular. Go find God in the Constitution if you don’t believe me. What I want to ask Aguillard, though, is how he can call “Christian” a nation that according to his own beliefs was conceived in sin? In other words, “to deny our Christian roots” is not a sin against God but is good fundamentalist hermeneutics.

As he makes clear in this article, Aguillard thinks being gay is evil. No doubt – good fundamentalist that he is – as proof he would cite a few sentences from Romans chapter one:

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

But Romans speaks to more issues than just sex. Remember our country’s roots? We were subjects of the British king, tired of paying taxes and so decided to revolt. Well, lookee what Romans says about that:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. . . .

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Sort of speaks for itself. No less a fundamentalist than John MacArthur has this to say about Romans 13 and the American Revolution:

To some people, evangelical Christianity was a proper justification for the American Revolution. They believe we had every right to load up our guns and kill Englishmen for the sake of our religious freedom. There are some Christians I know personally who refuse to pay their taxes because they believe that their freedoms are being violated. The truth is, the United States was born out of a violation of Romans 13:1-7 in the name of Christian freedom.

I’m not making any value judgments about the American Revolution. I am saying that arguing that our country has Biblical roots is not only bad history but also, if you have the same beliefs about the Bible that Joe Aguillard does, bad theology.

I’m sure there’s all kinds of special rules that limit the application of this passage to the time Paul wrote it. I’m equally sure there’s even more special rules that mean those special rules don’t limit Paul’s words about the gays to the first century. You know what I doubt, though? That Joe Aguillard has ever even considered the problem. He’s knows the gays are evil and he knows America was created by God and he don’t need no Bible nor history books nor plain old reason to tell him otherwise.

But Destroying Someone Else’s Property Is Fine

May 27, 2009

Calvin Lester, who in addition to being a crooked attorney and a fashion nazi thinks his position as city councilmen gives him the right to trespass on and cause thousands of dollars of damage to other people’s property, wants to fine people who don’t care for their own property.

Irony aside, the idea isn’t all that bad:

Councilman Calvin Lester is working with the city attorney’s office and property standards department to create amended ordinances, known as a renter’s code, to ensure tenants have working plumbing and other utilities deemed basic.

“By implementing a renter’s code, we can make it clear we are concerned about neighborhood integrity,” Lester said.

Supposedly it will be complaint-based, meaning inspectors will only enter apartments when the tenants complain. I have little or no sympathy for the type of landlord who would NOT keep those basic utilities in working order. Sure, it’s their property, but failing to care for it hurts the value of everyone’s. And while the tenant did choose to live there, maybe the problem wasn’t apparent prior to signing the lease. This at least gives the tenant a good bargaining chip when the landlord slacks. I can’t imagine it would drive costs up too much, either. It’s not like a requirement for granite counters in all kitchens or something ridiculous like that. All in all, probably not a bad idea.

Oh Please, It Was In A Walmart

May 26, 2009

On the list of scary stuff that could happen at stuffmart this wouldn’t even make the top ten:

A south Louisiana woman claims in a lawsuit that a nutria known as Norman ran at her in her local Walmart, scaring her into a panic attack and a foot injury that required surgery.

Low prices come at a cost, and running into an ROUS is just one of those costs. It’s no different than dealing with the surly felons working customer service or having your shoes stick to the floors. All part of the charm that is Walmart.

What About Seatbelts?

May 26, 2009

I have no problem with this:

The House Transportation Committee unanimously approved legislation today that would allow anyone age 21 and over to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. . . .

Jimmy Faircloth, executive counsel to Gov. Bobby Jindal, said the governor supports Morris’ effort to repeal the motorcycle helmet law for riders 21 and over because “it involves a known risk.”

Of course, it could lead to more Republican voters. More head injuries would mean more stupid people which would mean more votes for Republicans. Still, even if the results are bad, the idea is good: As long as the harm is only to themselves, let people make up their own minds.

What I don’t get is how you can oppose helmet laws on grounds of personal liberty but support mandatory seat belt laws. Here’s PBJ’s spokesman’s attempt at a distinction:

Jindal said he doesn’t feel the same way about the seatbelt law and supports it as a safety factor.

Faircloth said that’s because motorcyclists realize it’s a risk and take precautions while drivers of cars feel that the vehicle is safe enough to protect them.

Huh? I’m not sure what that means. Whatever it is, though, it should not matter. This isn’t a debate about what is safe or not. Everyone agrees helmets are safer than no helmets. The issue is who gets to decide about wearing one: The state or the person whose head is at risk. Here’s how Jindal says he feels:

In a morning news conference, Jindal said “I recommend that people wear a helmet. If I rode a motorcycle, I would wear a helmet. But I believe people, adults, have a right to make the choice themselves.”

The governor said people like to take risks, such as riding without a helmet, bungee jumping and hang gliding, and “I don’t think it’s the state’s role to tell them they can’t do that.”

Clearly, then, he’s not basing his decision on safety issues. He’s basing it on concerns about personal liberty. Like he said “people, adults, have a right to make the choice for themselves.” So why does he care about liberty for motorcyclists but not for car drivers?

My guess? Repealing the state’s seat belt law would give cops one less pretext for DWB arrests. Or it could just be that the revenue from seat belt tickets is much greater than that from helmet tickets. Either way, that’s a cheap view of liberty.

Alabama Frees The Hops

May 25, 2009

Congrats to beer lovers on their defeat of the evil alliance of prohibitionists and Budweiser distributors. In Alabama, there are no longer any restrictions on the alcohol content of beers, meaning decent people can now enjoy decent beer.

Alas, in my neck of the woods the enemy of good taste isn’t bass ackwards protectionist legislation, but market forces. Because everyone in this area is either a teetotaller or a manly man who only drinks watered down horse piss, no one sells the good stuff.

My New Used Patio Furniture

May 23, 2009

I’ve had these three old chairs for years. The design looks cool and they’re unbelievably comfy. We found them while walking the dog. Some lady was putting them on the curb and before I could even ask if she was tossing them she said “yeah, you want ’em?” We walked home, picked up the truck and returned for our treasures.

Only problem was they looked a little rough:


For ages, I’ve meant to refinish them. I haven’t until now mostly because I did not have anywhere they would really fit. Now that the new patio is (mostly) done, though, I have the perfect home for them.

So, first some scraping, sanding and priming:


Then some spray paint, some painter’s tape and some more spray paint:


Pretty sweet, huh? Here’s all three in one shot:


When I’m done, in addition to the yellow one, one will be blue and the other red. It’s amazing what some elbow grease and spray paint can do.

My favorite part of every week…

May 23, 2009

is Saturday mornings. As long as the weather doesn’t prohibit it, the babies and I head out each Saturday for a long walk/jog. I love it for several reasons. Even though I usually do the same 5-6 mile route in South Highland with a mid-way stop at Betty Virginia Park, there is so much to see.  The old houses are great; there are always lots of people out; the park is fun – it gives me a break from walking and the babies a break from riding; plus, I get some good exercise while enjoying the outdoors. And most of all, I get to listen to my podcast of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, my favorite show.

It’s the perfect combination of exercise, enjoyment (I frequently find myself laughing or guffawing out loud over the podcast.), relaxation (if I don’t want to push myself too hard), and playing.  All in all, it usually sets the stage for a really nice weekend.

Legal Protection For Cyclists?

May 22, 2009


Spurred by testimony from a grieving mother [whose son was killed by a car while cycling], a state House panel on Monday approved legislation aimed at making it safer for bicycle riders using Louisiana roads.

The measure, House Bill 725, would require motorists to allow at least three feet of space when passing bicycles.

It would also make it illegal for motorists to harass, taunt or throw objects at cyclists. Violators would face fines of up to $200 and 30 days in jail.

Without the sad story, I’d say no way this becomes law. Bikes, for whatever reason, seem to cause irrational hatred among non-cyclists around here. It’s not just “I don’t ride a bike.” It’s “I don’t ride a bike, I hate anyone who does and I will fight against anything that would benefit cyclists in any way.” The bill, though, is named after a med student who was training for a triathlon when some p.o.s ran him over and killed him. Can’t get more sympathetic than that.

Of course, I’m not sure even I support the whole thing. I’d like to know what they mean by “harass” and “taunt.” If those terms would include simply yelling “Hey faggot, get out of the road” I’d oppose the bill. As much as I’d like to chase down and beat the crap out of people who say things like that, and as much as they deserve it, I don’t want to criminalize mere words.

The rest is good, though I would make the penalty MUCH stiffer for throwing things at a cyclist. That’s intentionally putting people’s lives at risk.

As for enforceability, it’s low. The chances of remembering a tag number after someone sideswipes you are small. The chances of the local cops giving a rip are even smaller. The most this bill can do is educate non-cyclists about how to behave properly around bikes. That would still be a big help.