“To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.” –E. A. Poe
After an interminably long campaign season, the 2008 election is finally, blessedly, upon us. And as we vote, our nation faces immense challenges, from without and within: a gathering economic storm, two ongoing wars, and potential threats from Russia, China, and the Middle East. Our choice is not merely academic. We cannot afford a mistake. America must elect a leader with the experience to guide us safely through the next four years, the judgment to choose the best course through trouble, and the wisdom to make the difficult decisions.
Given the choices on the ballot, we have no trouble concluding: that leader is Senator John McCain.
Senator McCain has a long and storied record of serving this country with honor. He was shot down over Vietnam and tortured for over five years, enduring this suffering even after he was given the opportunity to be released before his fellow prisoners. He has been in the Senate for 22 years, where he is recognized by members of both parties as a pragmatic and independent leader, willing to hammer out a compromise when he believes it is in the best interest of the country, regardless of his party’s policies. He has long fought excessive spending and corruption in politics. His life tells a tale of accomplishments and action.
Contrast this record with his opponent’s. Senator Barack Obama has run an inspiring campaign that may well land him in the White House, but nothing in his history suggests that he is qualified for the job. From the Ivy League, he immediately entered the sleazy world of Chicago machine politics, where his ambition and gifts allowed him to quickly climb from local community organizer to U.S. Senator, with the help of several unseemly characters.
What has he done in that time? Precious little but run for higher office and vote “present” on controversial bills. What does he offer in support of his candidacy? Precious little but soaring rhetoric and vague promises of “hope” and “change” — welcome words in a time when so many believe the nation is on the wrong track, but ultimately, nothing more than hypnotic platitudes. He is simply a blank slate onto which his followers project their wildest political fantasies.
He has never — not once — taken a stance opposed to the wishes of his party.
He has never — not once — shown the courage to stand by an unpopular position.
On the issues, Sen. McCain outshines Sen. Obama, especially given the near-certainty of Democratic control in both the House and Senate. McCain’s tax plan focuses on relief for those who currently pay taxes; Obama would raise taxes on investors and confiscate money from some Americans to give to others. Obama has promised that one of his first actions in office would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which purports to abolish all state restrictions on abortion. McCain is, and has always been, unapologetically pro-life. Obama’s responses to foreign crises, such as the Russian invasion of Georgia, have been unsurprisingly naive, while McCain speaks with the gravity of a man who has been deeply involved on the foreign stage for a generation.
While Obama has swayed with every gust of wind, McCain has been steadfast and right on Iraq and Afghanistan, promising that those countries will be secured and self-governing before we leave them. McCain would nominate Supreme Court judges who will free Congress and the states to make the law; Obama supports an unelected activist judiciary that would impose its policy preferences on the nation. McCain supports the continuation and expansion of free trade, which has been a tremendous boon to American industry. Obama would “renegotiate” the treaties, hamstringing our fragile economy even further.
John McCain is not a perfect man. He is anything but a perfect candidate. We disagree with him on several issues, and we need no help seeing his myriad flaws. But to choose a third-party candidate, as many have done, is no choice at all — not when the differences between the two major candidates are this stark, not when the stakes for our nation are so great. We have no time for foolish quibbles over irrelevant issues, the political equivalent of leaving a church over the color of the nursery carpet.
No, these are serious days for our nation and the world. We deserve, we need, more than a smooth-talking first-term senator who has never run anything larger than a law review office and a campaign. We deserve experienced leadership, a man who has been thoroughly tested and found worthy of the job and its tremendous responsibility. A man who respects the presidency, but does not lust for it.
Sen. Obama might inspire and uplift, but beneath the words, he is an unqualified man with one of the most extreme voting records in the Senate. Sen. McCain has a proven record of bipartisan accomplishment and consistent leadership.
One talks, and talks, and talks. The other has followed through.
Bweinh! proudly endorses Senator John S. McCain for President.
If you picked “Satan’s favorite TV show,” you’re a winner!!
Yes or no, turkey?!
Â©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).
McCane kicks Obama’s butt
Originally published April 14, 2008.
The least attractive and most damaging characteristic President Bush has is his arrogance. So it’s a wonder to me that so many who have hated the results of his presidency have flocked to Barack Obama, who gives Bush’s Texas cockiness a hard-edged trebling.
This arrogance first became obvious when he became convinced — after a mere 27 months in the US Senate, which followed eight mostly unremarkable years in the Illinois state legislature — that his rhetorical skills and passion to “unify” somehow qualified him to bring his doctrinaire liberalism to the Oval Office. Since then, flashes of his pride and hubris have piled up, becoming more and more clear with every condescending explanation he gives of the latest “misinterpretation” of his words.
Now we find out he said, at a San Francisco fundraiser:
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Arrogant Barack here assumes that:
— A generation of small-town residents have remained helpless and unemployed because Presidents failed to put them to work.
— These residents dealt with this reality not by making the best of their situation, but by becoming bitter and frustrated.
— This bitter frustration explains their Neanderthal desire to cling to (among other things): gun rights, religion, racial prejudice, and hostility to free trade.
I could add that if any religion could be characterized as “bitter” or “frustrated,” it might be the religion of the guy who had his children baptized by a man who thundered that God should damn America, not bless it, who taught that the US government created HIV to kill black people. I might even mention that Barack’s close and continuing political association with that man, and many others like him, brings up legitimate charges that racism exists in Obama’s own heart.
But all that is just simple hypocrisy. We’ve come to expect it in our politicians.
What I want to point out instead is that this man really does believe those fainting, screaming crowds (“Yes, we can!”) prove his greatness. This man actually thinks that his election is the only event that can possibly save the union. This man truly expects that a president, as his wife has said, can and should “demand that [we] shed [our] cynicism,” “put down [our] divisions,” “come out of [our] isolation,” and “move out of [our] comfort zone.”
A man who would stand in front of some of his strongest supporters and unapologetically insult the core beliefs of the very people whose support he most desperately needs is a man who, deep down, believes that he is better than they are.
He is angry, he is radical, and he is almost impossibly arrogant. And the more he talks, the more we learn about the unreasonable fire that motivates the flowery rhetoric.
A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINE
“Doctor, I have an earache.”
3000 BC — “Here, eat this root.”
1200 BC — “That root is for the heathens. Say this prayer.”
1820 AD — “That prayer is just superstition. Drink this potion.”
1930 AD — “That potion is only snake oil. Swallow this pill.”
1975 AD — “That pill is ineffective! Take this antibiotic.”
2008 AD — “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!”
The next group from Acts is below; moving on is The Plots!
This week, Bweinh.com moves on to the next two chapters of Acts.
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10
11-12 | 13-14 | 15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20
Paul is the epitome of “all things to all people” in this section. He bows to pressure from James and the elders to partake in some sort of Nazarite vow; he speaks Greek to the captain who rescues him and Hebrew to the crowd of Jews who demand his head; he throws around his Roman citizenship and knowledge of Roman law when they bind him and try to scourge him, uncondemned. He could be quite the diplomat in a pinch.
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Paul’s defense was a reiteration of his testimony, and unsurprisingly, he didn’t get much farther than telling the Jews how he always knew the Jews wouldn’t listen to him.
The comment from the guard leading Paul to prison, asking him if he was the Egyptian who led a rebellion and escaped to the desert with 4,000 assassins. Really? How did I miss that?
Paul publicly confesses his complicity in the murder of Stephen in 22:20 — and he was bound with “thongs” in 22:25 (NKJV).
Someday (someday soon?) I’ll live somewhere temperate. But for now, I love how the drastic seasonal changes of upstate New York punctuate the passage of time. This is late October, and Monday I could tell, striding with a lean into a violent, almost icy wind. Change builds character. We are not spoiled.
Then again, maybe the weather drives us crazy too. Last Thursday night, it was barely 40 when a man in a T-shirt passed me on the sidewalk, licking a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone.
Not to worry, though; you’ll never catch me doing that.
I hate mint ice cream.
“A sense of humor is a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge.” — D. Barry
— I certainly reserve the right to not support Sarah Palin in the next election, but I’m tired of the recent flood of critical articles from members of the conservative intelligentsia, wanting to establish their independence from the purportedly fast-sinking ship.
So it’s nice to see her described, by a liberal feminist who’s actually spent some time on her press plane, as “thoughtful [and] curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight.” But then, why would you personally speak to the candidate when you can just jump to conclusions based on fevered hallucinations about her church attendance?
— My time on British buses was actually quite pleasant. Tube stations, though — they’d be a better fit for this new “there’s probably no God” ad campaign.
Best of Job, originally published in February 2006.
I was reminded this morning of a prank I played in college. I was initially taught this genius by my brother Joel who would, of course, in his current pastoral capacity, deny it. But I had a giggle fit remembering it this morning, and now that the statute of limitations has passed, I will share it with you.
On one of the few occasions I was in the Houghton library, I noticed my arch-nemesis hanging out at a table with some of his henchmen, reading and carrying on. Armed with only a Russ Picardo, I felt the unholy, unhealthy urge to suddenly assert my dominance.
I made a beeline for the psychology section and searched for the most twisted title the shelves offered. I settled on “Homo-erotic Tendencies in Young Adults and Theories Toward Their Explanation” or something similarly-titled (ed.’s note: my search in the online catalog suggests it was “Homosexual behavior among males; a cross-cultural and cross species investigation”).
Rustler and I settled down at a table near the Pharisees and waited patiently. Finally my arch-nemesis and his minions went off to scope out the air-conditioned room upstairs for chicks to flirt with.
Quickly, and with Russ watching the stairs, I slipped the book into What’s-his-face’s bag, behind his binder and some looseleaf paper.
We moved over near the periodicals and waited. It was almost time for dinner. We would not have to wait long.
Here they came, laughing like drunken frat boys. Past the circulation desk. Towards the door. Through the scanners.
**BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP**
Looks of honest incredulity, as they tested themselves individually, narrowing it down to the evil one — who opened his bag at the circulation desk.
“That is NOT mine!”
It was a good dinner.
Five schoolchildren found a large scale and weighed themselves in pairs.
They found that in those couples, they weighed: 129 pounds, 125 pounds, 124 pounds, 123 pounds, 122 pounds, 120 pounds, 119 pounds, 118 pounds, 115 pounds, and 113 pounds.
What was the weight of each child individually?
Email us with the answer by 00:00:01 Eastern on October 30. The first correct answer will win $1 [American]; the second incorrect answer will win 50 cents [American]; all correct answers will be entered into a random drawing for $5 [American].
Remember how, a little over a month ago, McCain was supposedly down only 5 points in New York? Well, now he’s down by just a little more. 31, to be specific. 62% for Obama, 31% for McCain. Doubled up.
If people are generally irrational creatures who make decisions based on emotional reasons they don’t understand, but rationalize after the fact — and I have a feeling that they are — then this election wasn’t decided by John McCain’s “dirty campaigning,” or so-called “lack of judgment” in picking Palin or suspending his campaign.
It was decided when people first checked out Obama and came away thinking that he understood them. That he spoke for them.
Once that switch was flipped, attacks couldn’t stick — he became a walking canvas for American hopes and dreams, the vague principle of change representing whatever a voter happened to want most. He’s not just a man, he’s a cult of personality.
People are most likely to wind up agreeing with you when you just present the facts and let them connect the dots in argument. Barack Obama just showed up — with his preternatural cool, his dusky baritone, and his meager resume — and let America fill in the blanks.
God help him. God help us.
Originally published May 14, 2008.
There comes a moment in each sports season where I begin to let go of one team and move on to the next one. The Philadelphia Flyers ”” Bweinh! predictions to the contrary ”” are not going to win the Stanley Cup.
Yet I\’m not upset, really. I feel less ticked at their letdown, and am content to release these Flyers to the haze of history, and give my heart to another.
I have developed this coping mechanism over the last 97 Philadelphia professional sports seasons, each one ending without a championship. Perhaps the 98th ”” the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies ”” will not disappoint.