Army Bans Body Armor

At a time when the Army is getting hammered by the American media for the war in Iraq, the Army has provided more ammo to its detractors. The Army in its infinite wisdom has declared that no body armor that has been privately purchased by soldiers will be allowed.

In the wake of years of reports of soldiers lacking body armor when they were sent into battle and private efforts to buy this armor for soldiers that lacked this equipment, this announcement is ill advised.

While I understand the concerns that have prompted this decision, the way it was done is a public relations disaster. Some body armor that has been commercially sold to law enforcement agencies is junk. It would not even stop a good pellet gun let alone small arms fire or a direct shot from a rifle. The Army has decided that this risk is not worth it.

I think the Army should try a different tactic. They should give the manufacturers the chance to get their body armor certified via live fire testing. It would have to meet minimum standards or be banned. Only armor that passes would be an acceptable alternative.

Blanket announcements like the one that the Army has made are the type of things that bureaucracies decree not organizations looking-out for the safety of their employees.

Abdul Rahman Highlights Afghanistan’s Darkside

Abdul Rahman is on trial for his life.  His crime is believing in Jesus. Like most Middle East countries, it is illegal to convert to Christianity. The punishment is death. This type of thing happens all the time in that part of the world. Normally, those that don’t recant their faith will be executed and have their children taken from them to be raised as Muslims.

What makes this case unique is that it is actually being covered in the mainstream media. Why? Because this is Afghanistan and the media is trying to show that President Bush is wrong for prosecuting the Global War on Terror. Their interest is embarrassing the President not advocating religious freedom.

Mr. Rahman is being offered a chance to avoid the trial if he can prove he is mentally incapacitated. It is unclear whether he actually has an opportunity for input in this decision or if the government will make such a declaration just to avoid the international embarrassment this has caused to the Afghan government.

Music Downloads #2

This is a follow-up to my previous post on music downloads.

Because my original music purchase was on a Tuesday, I was given a free download. I decided to get Petra’s Never Say Die and Washes Whiter Than. This was offered as two albums on one CD. I downloaded the songs and it looked like everything was there until I hit the play button. Oops! More malfunctions. Once again the song names did not match the tracks. This time however all the tracks were there, they were just labeled incorrectly. The song titles started with Never Say Die but the actual tracks started with Washes Whiter Than. At least they were in the correct order once you figured out what they had done.

I sent Connect another e-mail. Instead of promising to fix their mistakes they simply sent me a code to get yet another free download. I didn’t really want another download but I used it yesterday. I got a best of Jerry Reed mostly cause he’s a likeable guy and I like to collect humorous music like Ray Stevens, Gary S Paxton and Paul Shanklin. So now I Got the Gold Mine while Connect continues to give others the shaft.

Connect just impresses me as a lackadaisical subsidiary of a mega corporation. I expected more professionalism from Sony.

In summary, I have twelve of nineteen tracks from DeGarmo and Key Band’s No Turning Back, two albums (18 tracks) worth of Petra that are labeled incorrectly, twenty old songs from Jerry Reed and after a week my credit card still has not been charged.

Resources for Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick has two documents that are attributed to him which survive to this day.

The first document written by Patrick is a letter of excommunication. Patrick excommunicates a slave trader that is a member of another diocese who keeps kidnapping and murdering members of his flock.

The second document written by Patrick is a defense of false charges against him. These false charges are related to the fallout of the letter of excommunication. The document is Patrick’s testimony of his conversion to Christianity and his walk in the faith. It is called The Confession of Saint Patrick. My copy is published by Triumph Books in Liguori, Missouri.

For a good overview of these events and others in Patrick’s life you can purchase a movie called Saint Patrick: The Irish Legend. This is a great film for young and old. It stars Patrick Bergin and Luke Griffin. Believe it or not, it’s produced by the same folks that brought us the Power Rangers. How’s that for useless movie trivia.

For the best book on Patrick and his impact on the West read How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. This book covers the period from the Fall of the Roman Empire to Medieval Europe. You can read how the movement started by Patrick brought the light to Europe that extinguished the “Dark Ages.”

The other writing that is either by Patrick or more likely his followers is commonly known as

The Breastplate of Saint Patrick or The Deer’s Cry.

I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
through belief in the Three-ness,
through confession of the One-ness
towards the Creator.

I arise today through the strength of Christ’s Birth with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
in obedience of Angels,
in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs,
in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles,
in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins,
in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun,
brilliance of Moon,
splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning,
swiftness of Wind,
depth of Sea,
stability of Earth,
firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me:
against snares of devils, against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature, against everyone who shall
wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose
my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics,
against craft of idolatry,
against spells of witches, smiths, and wizards,
against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
against poisonings, against burnings,
against drownings, against woundings,
So there come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie down, Christ where I sit down, Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
through belief in the Three-ness,
through confession of the One-ness
towards the Creator.

Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ.
May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

I would love to hear this poem set to music.


Other Resources

The Celtic Page

The Celtic Saints by Courtney Davis

Music Download: DeGarmo and Key Band

DeGarmo and Key Band made a live album back in about 1981. It was called No Turning Back. It was originally released as a double LP and later as a double CD. Some songs on the album were never released on any other recordings. Needless to say the CDs are out of print.

I happen to own a copy of the CDs. However my disc 2 is defective. There was a period of time shortly after CDs first came out that defective media was mass-produced and sold. The media layers inside the CD will breakdown and render the CD useless. This is apparently what happened to my disc.

I have been watching E-Bay for copies of the CD but to going rate is close to $100. There are two albums by DeGarmo and Key that are not widely available as downloads on places like I-Tunes. This recording is one; the other is their album This Ain’t Hollywood.

I found a link at Sparrow Records that had said that the following titles were available for download. One of the albums listed was No Turning Back. Wow! I might be able to replace my bad disc via a music download. Fantastic!

I checked the four websites referenced at the Sparrow site. This is rather cumbersome because several require proprietary software to be downloaded to even view their sites. As it turns out, only one site actually had the elusive album for download. That site was Connect which is affiliated with Sony. I hesitated somewhat at the name of Sony. Why? Because of their recent reputation of installing spyware as part of their music licensing agreement.

My desire for this music outweighed my concern that this corporation is watching me. My other concern is the proprietary format that you must purchase the music in. (I’ll have more to say about this shortly.)

Once the software was downloaded, installed and my computer did the obligatory restart, I went to the site and created my account and purchased the music; 19 tracks for 9.99. I downloaded the songs to my computer and then said to myself, “hello old friends.” I hit the play button to enjoy some songs that I hadn’t heard in ten or more years and then it hit me: these aren’t right! Songs 1-7 were actually duplicates of 13-19. Tracks 1-7 were the correct names but wrong data files. Look at the time duration of the songs. The song order of the actual download is different from the album. Hey guys this is a live album. The order matters too.

The good news for me is that I did get all the tracks to rebuild my disc 2. Unfortunately, I didn’t get what I thought I was paying to download. I sent an e-mail to the company. I’m curious what type of response that I get from a large corporation about a rather obscure download on their site.

In addition to the tracks being hosed-up, one of the tracks that I downloaded that was labeled correctly has audio gaps about two-thirds of the way through the song. I tried downloading the track again on a different computer and have the same error at the same spot. Therefore their master is bad. I wonder if they ripped the song from the CD release and had a defective disc 2.

I was concerned about using music that was in a proprietary format. I created a CD from the software that I had download for the Connect music site and then ripped the CD in Windows Media format on my home computer. I labeled the tracks and now can use the files like any other music files on my computer. There does not appear to be any copy protection on the files in Windows Media format.

Mitt Romney: Spanking McCain and Challenging Evangelicals

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference held in Nashville over the weekend took a much-publicized “straw poll” of potential presidential contenders. Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, who bussed in many supporters, won the poll, but to the surprise of many, Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts can in second.

Media darling and Republican Brutus of the Senate, John McCain had a poor showing. This so-called “Maverick” (apologies to James Garner) got spanked by the Republican base in this symbolic vote. The Senator—who is a legend only in his own mind—has no chance of winning anything nationally.

As a result of his strong showing, the issue that has again been raised is Romney’s religion. Romney is a member in good standing in the Salt Lake branch of the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). Eric Hogue spent much of his program today on this topic.

Hogue’s basic question is will the Evangelical Base of the Republican Party support a candidate that is active in a non-Christian cult? No, he didn’t word his question this way but this is what he was looking to explore with his callers.

Other than to stipulate that I agree that the Mormons are not Christian because they deny the historic tenants of the Christian faith, Hogue asks a question worthy of analysis.

I think that much of Romney’s presidential effort will depend on what candidates are competitive in the early going and also on what baggage can be found during his time as governor of Massachusetts. Abortion and gay marriage will be high profile issues when people look at Romney.

If the traditional Republican Platform on social issues, Romney’s faith and his actions as governor are in agreement then he should be ok. However, if he could have stopped gay marriage from becoming implemented in Massachusetts or has any hypocrisy on the Life issue he will not get the support from the base that he needs to survive the primaries.

There are two practical questions that must be asked about any candidate but especially Romney; first, how would his policies as President compare to Ronald Reagan and George W Bush? Second, what type of people would Romney appoint if he is elected?

I would expect Romney to spend lots of time courting James Dobson and other evangelical leaders to either stay neutral in the primaries or support him because he is in agreement with them on issues like gay marriage, abortion and the Supreme Court justices. If Romney can make a case that he would be like an evangelical on social issues and act as a fiscal conservative then he just might pull this off.

Windows Live Toolbar beta

I downloaded Microsoft’s “Windows Live Toolbar beta” last night. The toolbar does things that neither the Google or MSN toolbar will do plus, it works with Windows XP Professional x64. Yahoo! (This is a celebratory expression and not a reference to any Internet company utilizing this name grin )

The toolbar memorizes passwords on web pages, a common enough Windows feature that no other toolbars support on 64 bit systems. It also has an RSS reader, integrated desktop and web search, e-mail, anti Phishing Filter, improved pop-up blocker, and a new feature called ”Onfolio”.

Onfolio is a new tool for research. It looks like it will prove handy once you figure-out how it works. Microsoft summarizes this tool:

Onfolio is a tool for the serious online researcher. It provides a way to easily save, organize, and share all sorts of data you find on the Web, including links, entire Web pages, portions of pages, e-mails, and Microsoft Office documents.

The RSS Reader is simple to configure. Go to a web page with an RSS feed, right click RSS icon on the page and select Copy Shortcut, open Onfolio Deskbar, click on down arrow on rightside of Add, then click on Add Website Feed, and paste shortcut and click OK. If the program can read feed, it will be added to list in Onfolio Deskbar, if the program can’t read the feed, try another on the page and see if it works. On some sites I was able to use Atom feed but on others it would not work and I had to use RSS 2 .

The Form Fill feature needs to autodetect the fields for username and password. When you fill-in username and password and then hit Enter, a box will pop-up asking you if you want the program to memorize the logon information. Manually inserting them into the program did not work on the websites that I tried.

The toolbar is probably a way of letting us beta test some “bells and whistles” that come standard with Windows Vista. The documentation is limited but I recommend you give it a try.

South Dakota Abortion Ban: Bane or Blessing?

South Dakota has passed the most restrictive abortion ban in the country. Its authors have stated that they intend this to be a direct challenge to the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade.

This is the most divisive issue to hit the Conservative wing of the Republican Party since Harriett Miers was nominated to the Supreme Court. Many are saying that this is either a premature effort that will yield nothing or a folly that will only give red meat to the Democrats as we approach the mid term elections this year and leading up to the next presidential primaries in 2008.

Others argue that Roe should be challenged directly. It will be at least three years before the High Court will hear the case. This is plenty of time for President Bush to get one more nomination on the Court before he leaves office.

Those uncomfortable with this legislation say that the Court will simply refuse to hear the case. They argue that without the insertion of the standard “Exception Clause” i.e. rape, incest and life of the mother this whole exercise is d.o.a.

Since there is no case yet, it is difficult to see how this will play-out. My purpose in writing this blog entry is to flesh-out arguments that I don’t hear anyone else talking about since this story hit the news late last week.

First, let’s see what Mississippi and any other Conservative states might be able to pass. The Supreme Court bundled three cases together when they heard arguments on Roe v Wade. I’m sure they will do the same with this batch of challenges to Roe. If Mississippi gives their bill the generally accepted “Exception Clause” language, I think these nervous folks will calm down.

Second, there is the issue before the Court right now of “partial-birth” abortion. The ban on this type of abortion is perfectly acceptable with the majority decision in Roe but is considered by abortion supporters as a curtailment of abortion rights as they stand now. The wording of this decision will be a harbinger of where the Court is heading.

Third, South Dakota has definite State’s Right grounds to argue the Constitutionality of their bill. Additionally, because of how Roe has been implemented, there is state money (our tax dollars) involved in subsidizing the abortion industry.

Four, the “Exception Clause” is mostly a strawman argument (smoke screen) that allows prolifers to appear compassionate. In reality it makes their arguments opposing abortion weaker.

Please note that most abortions are retroactive birth control and abortions for rape and incest are statistically insignificant.

Let’s suppose that there is a pregnancy as the result of rape or incest. How would the procedure work to allow the woman to get an abortion?
Do you just take her word that this is how she got pregnant? Is it necessary for her to file a police report first? If a guy is prosecuted for such a crime, the child would be full term before the courts could adjudicate the matter. This leaves you with the sticky problem of what if the guy is found not guilt, and she had the abortion? Has she committed perjury or murder or what?

This line of reasoning not only leads to the wilderness of moral relativism but right back to where we are now. For it is not strictly Roe v Wade that gives us the current abortion climate, but the companion case released the same day as Roe, January 22, 1973. Roe allows abortion for the health of the mother, while in Doe v Bolton, we get the definition of health as convenience.

The medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.

Any health exemption without a definition that closes this loophole is worthless in the hands of an activist judiciary.

Five, for those of you that want this issue to stop being political, I have one word of advice. Get the taxpayer subsidies out of the abortion decision and most of this abortion argument would disappear. I don’t what my money killing little black children just because the founder of Planned Parenthood though all blacks are “weeds” and hung-out with the German freaks that gave us the Nazi Holocaust. Children are God’s creation not things that we throw away.

Lastly, the lies of the pro-abortion movement are wearing thin with many. It is hard to keep the same old lies going forward decade after decade. The right balance of prayer and repentance will put this morbid practice in the dust bin of history soon enough.

Biblical Doom: Now Your PC can be Left Behind

Here’s more proof that Dispensational paranoia is running out of substance.

New Left Behind Game Due

A video game based on the Left Behind series of Christian apocalyptic books and movies will debut for the PC in the second half of 2006, Newsweek reported. Left Behind: Eternal Forces, based on the books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, places gamers in the position of New Yorkers who are “left behind” after the Rapture, the sudden calling-up of Christian souls that evangelicals believe will mark the beginning of the end times on Earth, the magazine reported.

The game will also feature a high level of violence, the magazine reported: Players scour the streets for converts, training them into a work force to feed, shelter and join a paramilitary resistance against the growing forces of the Antichrist.

The game will be marketed directly to church congregations and through ads in gaming magazines.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love BFG

This game sounds like a cross (pardon the pun) between Doom: Hell on Earth and the Scofield Reference Bible as interpreted by Hal Lindsey. Maybe Pat Boone could do the heavy metal sound track for the game. Even Christians need heavy metal music to kill the enemy.

Are we trying to legitimize the idea that terrorism and anarchy is ok if we do it in Jesus name and not for Allah? There really is a Biblical basis for war and this game is not the way to learn it.

On the bright side, at least Evangelicals like Rick Warren can quit worrying about global warming; afterall, it’s all gonna burn anyway.

Look for this game on the overhead projector at your Mega Church’s Saturday Night Seeker Service just in time for Christmas.

Dr. Henry M Morris: The Genesis Flood author dies

Dr. Henry M. Morris died last Saturday. He was regarded as “the father of the Modern Creation Movement.” His book, The Genesis Flood which he coauthored with John C. Whitcomb in 1961 is still a must read for anyone interested in this area of Christian Apologetics.

I remember reading The Genesis Flood in junior high school in the ‘70’s. This book gave me the confidence that science and Scripture were in harmony not locked in mortal combat as many falsely contend.

Dr. Morris was director of the Institute for Creation Research. He did his undergraduate work at Rice University and his M.S. and Ph.D. studies at the University of Minnesota. His specialty was hydrology.

Dr. Morris authored over sixty books on various aspects of the subject. For those who have read this book or the hundreds of others that have grown out of this man’s work, I know that you will miss him. Thankfully others have taken up the work which he helped to pioneer.